Ultimately, you'd have to look at "Crossing" as the story of hope during really dark times. Even when we've reached our breaking point as human beings, there's always another level of absurdity that seems to want to pile onto us – and more often than we realize, we respond in a nature that has some humor to it, whether it's intended or not. It's a defense mechanism; we've used it to survive our most dire circumstances for longer than any of us have been alive. "Crossing" reveals many of these moments as a form of levity. To help ease the pain of what might otherwise have been an extremely bleak story of a humble family of immigrants - and what happens to them in the aftermath of the most damaging financial crisis since the Great Depression. While "Crossing" focuses intently on the family that we follow, it also goes to great lengths to highlight how many points along the way could have happened to anyone.
It's the story of being well-off, living the American dream, and discovering how much of an illusion it really is. It's the story of how capitalism is destined to do itself in and how it keeps us from seeing what is truly important in our day-to-day lives - while we run around like ants in a colony, tunneling to our definitions of success and freedom. It's the story of what happens when the illusion is no longer what we see. It reminds us about what matters by exposing the twisted roots of greed that essentially have nothing to do with who we are. "Crossing" is the story of a family with people that could easily be you, me, or folks we know and care about. It's about the fragility of the system we all live within.
For some time, this family was doing quite well. When the domino effect of the stock market collapse eventually trickled down into their own economics, you see how the chain of events unfolds. The father gets sick, the brother is forced to scale back his business, money becomes tight, and everyone's story is interconnected – because that, dear readers, dear friends, is what life is really like. "Crossing" shows us the harsh realities of how many things can pile up on people at once and what a toll that takes on the human spirit. We see implied encounters with racism - inherent in the system when the family tries to take care of their ailing father. We see the breakdown in the medical system itself with the extreme cost of what it's like to get seriously sick in America and pay for hospital bills. We see the ripple effect continue to creditors hounding good people to collect on debts they can't afford to pay and how quickly everything adds up, and we see how our troubles and struggles can bond us closer together.
We see genuinely smart scenes from writer/director Arthur Ian with important symbolism, like when the main character we follow lays down on the bed, clearly exhausted from so much stress. It's filled with newspapers that reveal the real state of the nation, with corporations and executives getting massive financial bailouts while his humble family of immigrants are simply doing everything they can to take care of their father - and just get by day-to-day. Many people might not like to actually admit it, but this is the dark side of the American dream; "Crossing" shows us what can happen to too many folks that fall through the cracks of our society. While it's true that some have the good fortune of having a few dollars in their bank accounts to fall back on, there are countless stories of people in the opposite scenario, whereby they're one critical crisis away from being unable to afford basic human needs.
Immersing us in the story, even more, Ian cleverly uses subtitles to keep things even more authentic in regards to the immigrant experience and how confusing that can be for both sides of the equation. Think of all the people you probably miscommunicate with on a daily basis in basic English – and now imagine what it would be like trying to incorporate a whole other language and interpretations of what's being said. Long story short, it wouldn't be easy – millions live this kind of experience every day. "Crossing" does a good job of keeping just enough of a hopeful spark on the horizon. So that we don't feel completely flattened by the harsh realities of the family, we're following - and perfectly strikes a balance in the more humorous moments found along the way so that we still take this Drama seriously at all times. Essentially, it's never so lighthearted that we don't feel the weight, but never too crushing so that the same weight is excruciating to watch. The acting is decent, and the script itself is pretty solid throughout the majority of the film – I'd say at least right up to the final climax, which I'd imagine invites some genuine debate from those out there watching "Crossing." I'm not going to give away the ending here, but things will work out much differently than you'd probably assume after the emotional ride you've been on since this film first began…and it makes you wonder how many people would realistically end up being in a similar situation after all the pain they've experienced beforehand.
It's got a twist to it at the end; there's no doubt about that – it's just a matter of whether or not you feel like it's possible or not likely to have happened at all. Ultimately I always think an ending like this can be advantageous – polarizing is a good thing in my world; it creates conversation, and no one ever ends up feeling indifferent. I think for myself personally, "Crossing" probably went a step too far, though I'll readily admit that just about any other kind of ending would have had to be much more devastating. That being said, it might have seemed more fitting or real to have gone in that direction. In contrast, the final scenes of "Crossing" feel like they're aiming at creating a calm in the storm beyond what this family could have created on their own, which is arguably more comforting, but perhaps not quite as effective or cohesive to the story overall. Fate has a strange way of turning any situation completely sideways, though – so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that things could go in the opposite direction we'd expect, just like how this story initially began. Of course, we'll all have our interpretation of how the end of a film like "Crossing" should be based - on our own assumptions and experiences in this world – Arthur Ian has presented one that still works and wraps up this story in a way that viewers will be comfortable with. I was still satisfied, and it was well worth watching. I'm going to meet this movie in the middle with three stars.