Crossroad is an interesting combination of several movies I've seen before. Like Crash it has an ensemble cast whose lives intersect throughout the film. Like Encounter, most of the film takes place in a diner as people work out their issues. But unlike any other film I've seen, it makes the miraculous seem plausible.
Crossroad follows the lives of sixteen people, ten of whom end up in a diner held hostage at gunpoint. The film starts out tracking each person's story as they enter the diner. Some characters' stories are given up front, while others have mysterious pasts that will be revealed later. By slowly delivering the details, Writer/Director Shervin Youssefian holds the audience in suspense. There is never a dull moment, and the details come as quickly as we want them. In excellent form, Youssefian introduces an event halfway through the film that completely spins the story on its head. Again, he keeps the audience watching as the game completely changes. I half-expected the action to dwindle off near the end, because most films with eventful first and second acts tend to do that. But Youssefian added one more factor to maintain our interest: the twist that their lives are all interconnected.
I won't give away the details, but I will admit that as more connections began to link up, the cynic in me said, "No way would that ever happen!" Fortunately, the creative team suspected as much. At the height of my disbelief, a character actually stated that it could never happen. There was no way that their lives could be connected. And that, my friends, is an excellent way to make the miraculous believable in film. As Christians, we are more apt to believe a miraculous truth than a miraculous fiction. For instance, the disappearance of cancer in a friend is more believable than the miraculous healing of a movie character. It is often hard to reconcile the truth of God's power within the context of a fictional work. But Youssefian and the film's producers, Danny Simonzad, David Dginguerian, and Amy Weber make it happen. By validating the audience's suspicion, they give credence to the unlikely event and attribute it to God's handiwork. It was an extremely pleasant and welcome surprise for me.
The film also included some excellent performances by experienced actors and actresses. I usually hate crying scenes, as anyone who knows me can attest. But the actors did very well and the crying was not overused for dramatic effect. Also, as much as this movie had the opportunity to be a "talking heads" film with people sitting at booths in a Dr. Phil style counseling session, Crossroad was definitely NOT that. The combination of character flashbacks and forward action maintained visual interest throughout the movie.
The film is not for children because of its adult subject matter. Parents may also want to consider any sensitive teens because of the double homicide at the beginning of the film. But for adults and mature teens, this film provides an excellent opportunity to discuss hard topics like suicide, murder, loss, adultery, and abandonment. These subjects are handled well, and the consequences for such choices are clearly shown in the lives of the characters. All in all, I think Crossroad is one of the better Christian films produced this last year, and it succeeds on many levels.
Talking Points with Kids
Ages 0-15 – Not recommended for viewing.
Age 15 (+) – The film did not give the full back story for the character Martin, who rescued Sparkle just as he was about to kill himself. Based on his connection to Don Briggs, why do you think he may have wanted to take his own life? Don Briggs had a supernatural ability to heal, and was present in the final scenes of the film. Do you think he was human or angel? If human, what may have contributed to his ability to understand and "see" the supernatural? What does the Bible say about healing and supernatural visions?