Harrison Ford plays a burned-out immigration officer in a film that puts plot complexity in a new league.
Dale Robinette/The Weinstein Company/AP
In writer-director Wayne Kramer's "Crossing Over," Harrison Ford plays Max Brogan, a weary Los Angeles-based agent for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Although many of his working hours are spent busting illegals, his heart is no longer in the job. When a sweatshop raid collars a Mexican mother (Alice Braga), she pleads with Max to spare her young son from abandonment.
It's a powerful opening to a movie that rapidly fractures into a hodgepodge of interlocking subplots showcasing immigration woes. The film's structure is similar to that of "Crash," another overweening, high-style melodrama that reeked with self-importance.
You practically need a flow chart to keep all the players straight. Max's ICE partner, Hamid (Cliff Curtis), of Iranian descent, has a wealthy father who fled the 1979 revolution and is about to become a naturalized US citizen. His Goth-like daughter Zahra (Melody Khazae), however, has adopted what he views as loose Western ways – a real no-no.
A young Bangladeshi teenager, Taslima (Summer Bishil, from "Towelhead"), reads aloud to her class an essay sympathizing with the 9/11 attackers – another big no-no. Enter the FBI. Gavin (Jim Sturgess), a British illegal and nonpracticing Jew, gets a job at a Jewish day school on the condition that he not reveal his immigration status to anybody. His aspiring Aussie actress girlfriend Claire (Alice Eve) prostitutes herself with Cole (Ray Liotta), a green card application adjudicator, whose wife (Ashley Judd), is an immigration defense attorney battling for the rights of a young African girl.