MTI // 2008 // 90 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 22nd, 2009
Sometimes having faith means letting go.
Here's Peter (Jacob Pitts), a Jesuit priest-in-training who's -- you guess it -- at a crossroads in life. Toiling away at the seminary, bitter, sarcastic, and borderline depressed, he's concluded the priesthood may not be for him. When dispatched to Alabama to help with a Jesuit soup kitchen, he thinks life can't get any more confusing. His initial desire to become a priest has waned to the point of non-existence and on top of that a beautiful girl named Jill (Amy Acker, Angel) has caught his eye. The two eventually hit it off and those life decisions become that much harder.
It was an uphill battle, but Crossroads eventually won me over. At first, I wasn't having anything to do with Peter. The guy was a tool, unlikable, flaky, and mean. Whatever wondrous character arc writer/director Murray Robinson had mapped out for him, I was disinterested. It's a testament to the acting and, yes, the writing, that I ended up empathizing with the guy, even though he strikes me as the last guy I'd want as a priest.
Peter's growth chart is what powers the film and Jacob Pitts does a fine job taking us on that trajectory. The very fact he's able to usher this one-time jackass from the bowels of audience loathing into a guy I was actively rooting for is noteworthy. Pitts is able to effectively mix angst and restlessness with a genuinely sympathetic nature (eventually), and the result is a complex, interesting construct. Backing him up is Alan Arkin, excellent as Peter's overseer, and the lovely Amy Acker, whose Jill mirrors Peter's big fat question mark of a life. She is also adrift, but their bond becomes both an anchor and a compass point for the two. The endgame is suitably ambiguous, but positive nevertheless.
Crossroads is a small, well-done character piece that accomplishes everything it set outs to. It gives us a compelling character grappling with many issues, places him in a new situation, pairs him with another interesting character who acts as a counterweight, and lets the relationship develop in a realistic and sometimes provocative way. Just a nice little movie all around.
Unfortunately, the DVD is threadbare. The film looks good in its 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and though the 5.1 surround doesn't have much to do (except when it pushes the oddly out-of-place soundtrack), it's clean and clear. No extras is a bummer.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13