Saturday, December 19, 2009


I got my fill of depressing movies today. Well done movies, with strong acting and compelling stories, but downers nonetheless. Sometimes you can tell right off the bat that there isn't going to be much of a happy ending. In the case of one movie, The Road, I knew that if they stayed true to the book by Cormac Mccarthy, that it wasn't going to be a fun ride; in the case of Crossing Over, starring Harrison Ford, several story lines are clearly going to end badly, though not quite as badly as the earlier movie. Still, both are definitely worth watching.

Even as disturbing and well written as McCarthy's book was, and I really enjoyed it, I was apprehensive about how the movie would come out; however, I was not disappointed, as I feel the makers stayed fairly true to the original. They cut out a few scenes, but overall it was well done. Vigo Mortinson was excellent in the role of the father, and the rest of the cast was great too. Where they found all the locations to shoot this thing is beyond me. The film version is not as hard edged as the written one, but I suspect McCarthy was probably satisfied with the treatment. In combination with his No Country For No Men, I am anxious to see what he comes up with next.

Crossing Over touches on many themes relating to illegal immigration and the desperate attempts some make to earn their green cards. As they say on television, the story was "ripped from the headlines." Ford plays a large-hearted immigration cop, who tries to remain humane while doing his job. His partner, an Iranian American, looks the other way when his over zealous father pushes one son to the edge, resulting in the murder of their too-Americanized sister and her lover (this storyline bothered me a bit, because if I rememebr correctly, in the real case it was not one son losing his temper at teh alst moment, but an orchestrated hit by the family). A Mexican mother pays a heavy price tryig to regain entry after she has been deported because she was forced to leave her young son behind; an Asian boy, on the cusp of naturalization, is coerced into joining a robbery attempt; a little Nigerian girl, soon to be orphaned, is the object of concern by a immigration lawyer, whose bureaucratic husband uses his position in INS to bed an Australian starlet trying to stay in the country; a Jewish immigrant gets a lot of help (and there is a message there about the power of some groups to more readily be able to by pass the system) in earning his status; and a young, devout Muslim girl, who espouses an unpopular theme in class soon finds her family ripped apart by also-zealous Homeland Security types. The movie is clearly sympathetic to the immigrants and also shows well the meaning naturalization holds for many new citizens. There is a lot of emotion here: guilt, compassion, humaneness, paranoia, racism, intolerance, forgiveness. It is definitely worth watching.

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