★★★ Directed by: Morgan Dameron Starring: Alixzandra Dove, Graham Beckett, Connor McGee, Deanna Russo Short Film Review by: Darren Tilby
Feeling almost theatrical in its performances and modest in its direction, Crossing comes across as a bit of a mixed bag; a film perhaps unsure of how exactly it wants to convey its message: should it tell its story through humour or should it use sentimentality? In the end, the film attempts and dilutes both. However, under its jumbled and often inconsistent facade lies an overtly profound and beautiful essence.
Beginning with a series of long-shots to introduce us to our characters, who stood either side of a quiet desert road, seem to have a predicament: Finn (Graham Beckett) is afraid to cross, conjuring an assortment of excuses not to, each more ridiculous than the last.
The set-up alone appears absurd, almost laughable. But this isn’t a film to be taken with any literal intent. Viewed metaphorically, the lonely road becomes a representation of Finn’s fear of the future — and the film suddenly makes much more sense.
The dialogue between our two main characters makes clear the film’s true intention, serving its purpose admirably: as Betty (Alixzandra Dove) urges, “Come on, our future awaits!” Finn replies, “...who knows what the future holds. Anything is possible.”.
There’s no doubt the film does a very good job of getting its message across in a way which is coherent, without feeling the need to spoon-feed the viewer information.
Nevertheless, the film does feel slightly muddled in places. The theatricality of the performances, the overly dramatic movements, and deliverance of lines works to a point, but does feel forced and clumsy in places: and this (at least for me) made the humorous elements of the film feel a little immature, which grated on me at times.
The second act of the film – a flashback sequence of a young Finn (Connor McGee) being bullied and later confiding in his mother (Deanna Russo) – is where the true heart of the story lies. The importance of childhood experience – good and bad – is felt very strongly here, as is the significance of Finn’s relationship with his mother: the wisdom imparted to Finn at this young age by a trusted and much-loved figure is shown to have shadowed him through life; affecting the way he overcomes fear, even many years on.
In this way, our loved ones never truly leave us; something I think we can all appreciate and relate to.
Underneath its absurdist and sometimes confused exterior belies a warm, loving and profoundly beautiful tribute to the people and experiences of our youth and the lessons they teach us. Crossing may have failed to resonate with me on a comedic level, but emotionally it really hit the spot: towards the end of the film, as Finn crossed the road, I couldn’t help but smile and feel immensely proud.
Crossing, in spite of its flaws, is a wonderfully uplifting movie.