On the Big Board
|I like Alice Eve, and not just because she gets plenty naked. Mostly this is an immigration companion to Crash.
Crossing Over is a comedy about an NBA rookie, Allen Iverson shaking a defenseless Michael Jordan at the top of the key with a “killer crossover” dribble. If you think that makes for good cinema then stop reading here and start banging out a script for that film. Sadly (or maybe not), this movie is actually a drama about immigrants of different nationalities struggling to achieve legal status in the City of Angels, otherwise known as LA, where the hustlers hustle and the ballers play (damn it, I can’t get that basketball theme out of my head now!). The film deals with many political hot-button issues like the border, document fraud, the asylum and green card process, work-site enforcement, naturalization, the office of counter terrorism and the clash of cultures. Sounds like a CNN lead-in.
For it’s part, Crossing Over has a stacked cast for the screen that has already crossed over into mainstream consciousness. Indiana Jones, err, I mean, Harrison Ford leads the way as Max Brogan (no relation to Montgomery Brogan, lead character played by Edward Norton in The 25th Hour). Oscar-bait Sean Penn, good-fella Ray Liotta, and Kentucky Basketball’s number one fan, Ashley Judd, back in a supporting role where she is best are here as well. In addition, Summer Bishil, of another controversial film, Towelhead, and Jim Sturgess from gambling flick, 21, are also on board.
Of interesting note, the film was originally titled Honor Killing and had plans to have an Iranian character murder his sister in such an “honor killing.” This is the type of thing you might see in Asian cinema where one member of a family kills another due to them dishonoring the family name. However, due to opposition from the National Iranian American Council, which deemed this scenario offensive and unrealistic, the plot device (or scene) was removed.
Much of the known info on Crossing Over recalls a previous Best Picture Oscar-winner, Crash. However, this one is perhaps a bit more political than social with its message. For authenticity's sake, it was written and directed by Wayne Kramer, himself a South African immigrant. Kramer is an industry veteran who has also pulled double duty on the 2003 film The Cooler and 2006’s underrated Running Scared, among others. With the talent that is assembled, the makings seem to be in place for this to have Crash-like box office potential. But will audiences care to be embroiled by this sort of drama? Might it play a bit more as a thriller and ring up receipts that way? (Brandon Scott/BOP)