Opening 25 Jun 2009
Grizzled Max Brogan (Harrison Ford), a career Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent (ICE), has reached an epoch where he allows himself to relate to the people he tracks down for deportation. His dedicated Iranian-American partner Hamid Baraheri (Cliff Curtis) sees himself as a testament that being American is important as his father's naturalization ceremony approaches, until a misguided deed brings tragedy to the family.
Daily they raid premises where illegal immigrants are suspected of working. When Brogan seizes young Mireya Sanchez (Alice Braga), her concern is for her five-year-old son. Baraheri gives Young Kim (Justin Chon) a rare choice, to appease his own conscience. Cole Frankel’s (Ray Liotta) green card approval position gives him leverage with Australian aspiring actress Claire (Alice Eve); Claire’s boyfriend Gavin (Jim Sturgess) uses his defunct Judaism opportunely. Defense lawyer Denise Frankel (Ashley Judd) negotiates for those caught in the net, e.g., orphaned Alike (Ogechi Egonu) or 15-year old Jahanara’s (Jaysha Patel) deportation, following FBI terrorist accusations.
Writer/director Wayne Kramer uses a broad canvass with international borders, yet that does not deflect that the storyline, which encompasses a series of vignettes with Ford’s character the unifying element, is labored and panders to viewers’ emotions. The cast serve up first-rate performances; James Whitaker’s dark cinematography and original music by Mark Isham are praiseworthy. But the film is long; the plot has few twists as well as a couple of scenes that stretch the point of credibility. It offers no fresh insights or moral truths. Perhaps Kramer spends too much time watching Law & Order and CSI on television, where many of the film’s subplots have been covered. (Marinell Haegelin)