Love means uncertainty. The good news is that when the doubt dissipates, the closeness can go to a level that was previously unimagined. But unfortunately, if entropy rules, the resulting disarray can explode with an equal and opposite force. In this, Crossing gives us a taste of both worlds, and the power dwarfing us all, writer/director Plinio Santarelli can only offer caution in his 26 minute short.
We begin with 13 year old Fred (Harrison Sturgeon). He is strumming Van Morrison’s, Into the Mystic, and the melancholy twang foreshadows the cosmic unraveling to come.
His mother Ruth (Brianna Carleton) enters, and she brings it back to real life. The family moving, Carleton emotes a down to earth cynicism, An ongoing effort, Ruth is trying to get the people around her to face the fact that life has no easy answers. This includes her husband Joel (Jeff Smith).
An uphill battle, the lighting throughout also foretells the difficulties. Shadow and grey shroud the character’s faces in every shot and implies that they have little chance of escaping into the light. The strained conversations tell us in words and reinforce the foreboding.
Nonetheless, the trio is off. In their SUV for the airport, the small town gets its final say, and with it, the Ben Zäch cinematography evokes a familiar American point of view. Beneath the serenity and simplicity, there’s a hidden truth, and unearthing is just a matter of scratching the surface.
Even so, Oregon awaits, and the secrets may just pass by like the fading scenery. Not in the know, however, Joel is ready to go the distance, and it doesn’t matter that the man-child has a strong tinge of “holding onto 16 as long as he can.”
A dichotomy endearingly carried by Smith, the grownup part of the character still doesn’t leave any doubt to how committed he is to leaving the past behind.
Ruth, on the other hand, realizes that history must be reckoned before the future can be ushered in. So she deliberately takes a wrong turn, and the scheduled flight and new life is going to have to wait.
In high school, before there was a Ruth and Joel, there was a Ruth and Evan, and she has chosen this moment to tie up the loose ends. The awkwardness can’t be evaded, and Smith tries to mask the buried pain. But the actor simmers a cool sarcasm that reveals how touchy the subject still is.
Ruth presses on nonetheless, and Carleton tries to contain the coming explosion with more of her passive aggressive chill. No chance, Ruth delivers a package that Joel wants no part of, and the focal point is reached for the parallel universes to diverge.
Unimagined closeness or the equal and opposite – we can envision both – and Crossing lets us do just that. A back and forth between this universe and another, reality is a blur, and the Angel played by Al Nazemian let’s us know that the worldly is afoot.
Nazemian abruptly appears, and the mystery of his presence confirms that the characters are in no position to know where they stand. Therefore, the tragedy and the guilt are stacked against forgiveness and the future.
A heavy load, when the characters make their final crossing, they aren’t the only ones left to sort out this mess. Should we take the chance and let love fall where it may?
It doesn’t really matter, because we don’t really have a choice. All we can do is accept the reality, and no matter how hurt we are, falling back on our own humanity represents the best chance of making the crossing.