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Crossing

Erotic thriller-cum-crime drama stirs some familiar plot bones with the offbeat hook of the protag discovering a penchant for cross-dressing while he's trying to steer his late father's Vancouver mob operation toward legitimacy. Uneven but intriguing Canadian effort has enough salable elements to attract home-format and cable buyers.

Cast:
With: Sebastian Spence, Crystal Buble, Bif Naked, Alan C. Peterson, Tara Wilson, Bernie Colson, Fred Ewanuick, Warren Christie, L. Harvey Gold, Joe Bates, Raoul Ganeev, Mike Kopsa, Sasha Piltsin.

Erotic thriller-cum-crime drama “Crossing” stirs some familiar plot bones with the offbeat hook of the protag discovering a penchant for cross-dressing while he’s trying to steer his late father’s Vancouver mob operation toward legitimacy. Uneven but intriguing Canadian effort has enough salable elements to attract home-format and cable buyers. Offshore theatrical travel is an iffier prospect.

Estranged for the last 15 years from his family — which controls a smalltime network of Croatian gangsters in Vancouver — handsome, straight-arrow Daniel Cimmerman (Sebastian Spence) has built a respectable life for himself as a Toronto banker. But he reluctantly chucks that world after his father makes a deathbed request that he take over the biz and turn it into a lawful one.

Not all the old-school wiseguys are happy about the transition. An unknown rat with inside knowledge tips some lesser thugs when Daniel has to make a back-alley payoff; he escapes, but not before being taunted by weird Elvis-coiffed female androgyne Bernie (Canuck rocker Bif Naked).

More unsettling than the attempted mugging is that Dan got aroused by this role-reversal bullying from a woman. He’s lured into exploring these urges by Davina (Crystal Buble), a stripper hired for the bachelor party to celebrate his upcoming marriage to the princessy Anika (Tara Wilson). Little does he know Davina is in the same employ as the muggers, beholden to sleazy Uncle Bunny (Alan C. Peterson), whose lowbrow racket is taking blackmail photos.

Both shamed and thrilled by his growing penchant for makeup, wigs and lingerie, Daniel continues to see Davina, who likewise has mixed feelings about their outre sex play. But both begin falling in love, a situation problematic on many fronts. She can only escape Bunny’s clutches by betraying her amour, while Dan is already neck-deep in dangerous obligations of varying legality.

Though director Roger Evan Larry and scenarist Sandra Tomc handle the gender-bending with more delicacy than sensationalism, pic could have explored protag’s psychology in greater depth. Crime-drama aspects are cliched and seldom fully plausible. Nonetheless, the overall mix holds attention. Best sequence isn’t the rather perfunctorily staged shoot-out climax, but rather its immediate prelude, as crosscutting between two cars headed toward the fateful rendezvous whips the interpersonal conflicts to an edgily funny froth.

Perfs and production values are solid, if unremarkable.

Crossing

Canada

Production: A Relevision production in association with CineVu Films. Produced by Roger Evan Larry, Sandra Tomc. Executive producers, Jeff Barmash, Mike Mahoney, Doug Hylton. Co-producers, Tara Boire, Kimberly Boyd, George Erschbamer, Hugh Spencer-Philips, Brian Sword. Directed by Roger Evan Larry. Screenplay, Sandra Tomc.

Crew: Camera (color), Kamal Derkaoui; editors, Bethany Handfield, Jason Margolis; music, Ferocious Fish, Frank DeCarlo, Rodney Sharman; production designer, Lawrence Pevec; costume designer, Patricia Hargreaves; sound, Ted Nazar; second unit director, Brian Sword; casting, Lindsay Walker. Reviewed at Cinequest, San Jose, March 11, 2005. Running time: 109 MIN.

With: With: Sebastian Spence, Crystal Buble, Bif Naked, Alan C. Peterson, Tara Wilson, Bernie Colson, Fred Ewanuick, Warren Christie, L. Harvey Gold, Joe Bates, Raoul Ganeev, Mike Kopsa, Sasha Piltsin.

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