Crossing | Film Threat

Dec 8, 2022

Written and directed by Arthur Ian, Crossing bills itself as a drama, though there are several comedic moments throughout. This is Ian’s screenwriting debut and only his second directorial effort behind a documentary, so it could be a tonal problem. However, considering how good the overall production is, that hardly seems to be the case.
Twenty years ago, just before the Berlin Wall fell and the Iron Curtain lifted, Andrei (Rudolf Martin) left for a better, more prosperous life in the U.S.A. His college preparation curriculum took off, and Andrei became rich. Unfortunately, all good things must end, as they say. For Andrei, his undoing comes in the form of the Great Recession.
Andrei is having a hard time keeping his business afloat, though his assistant, Susan (Stephanie Kramer), is tenacious. To keep his head above water, he lives with his sister, Izabella (Teri Reeves), and her family. Things spiral downward when their father, Gregory (Alex Veadov), winds up in the hospital. Now, Andrei has to scrounge for the funds to pay the medical bills. However, a nurse there tries everything in her power to help.
Crossing has a lowkey quality to it in the best possible way. Flashbacks help establish the strained relationships that must be mended in the present. As such, the story is very intimate, with only a handful of characters, all of who orbit the lead. This ensures that Andrei is a complete person with hopes, faults, and passions. His dedication to his family is never questioned, making the perfect ending all the more resonant.

“…Andrei has to scrounge for the funds to pay the medical bills.”
Unfortunately, the film does suffer from a few issues. For starters, the jumping around multiple timelines could be clearer. There’s the present day, where most of the action takes place. Then there’s Andrei’s childhood and his time at a boarding school. It always takes a moment or two to readjust to whichever timeline is now happening.
Then there’s a conversation after birthday festivities have died down. Most of Crossing is shot well and sports some fantastic audio mixing (especially at the end). However, this sequence is clearly ADR’d to death, with voices seemingly not coming from the actors or the room they are in. It’s awkward and throws one out of the film. However, it stands out even more because it is the only moment where anything like that is present.
But no matter, as the film still works quite well. Again, because the family dynamics are so well-written and realistic, the dramatic beats hit hard. A scene involving the nurse and Andrei going for a walk is sweet. When Andrei starts playing piano with a prospective student is brilliantly edited. But just as important to the film’s success is all the comedy Ian includes. Andrei needs to pick up his mom (Marina Sirtis). The van is already full of people, including an older couple jabbering away. His mother is standing in front of “Hotel Vacancee,” which Andrei’s never heard. Of course, it is a motel with its “vacancy” sign lit up. Hilarious.
Moreover, Ian gets the most out of his cast. Martin is splendid, by turns stoic, annoyed, and happy. Veadov is splendid, never overplaying the dying card, bringing a quiet humanity to a complicated role. Sirtis is fun, especially in a scene where she’s reading coffee grounds to the nurse (not sure who plays her, but she is dynamite as well). Sirtis complains that the grounds are hard to read correctly because this is instant coffee and, therefore, only partially accurate. Hysterical.
Crossing is an engaging drama filled with some expertly timed humor. The cast is strong, and every character is well-written. Unfortunately, the two different forms of flashback muddle things a tad, while the limited resources available rear their ugly head from time to time. No matter, though, as Arthur Ian has crafted an excellent little film that cinephiles worldwide should check out as soon as possible.

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