The Xrossing

The Perth Hills are on fire again!  In a figurative sense, that is as souls cry out for a path toward paradise.  If it sounds too poetic to be achieved in a couple of hours, just know that The Xrossing, a tough coming-of-age story which is dedicated to the memory of Andrew “Drewz” Namok - will justify that statement with almost every minute spent watching its plea for compassion. 

"doesn’t let up on the visual inspiration as we are constantly rewarded with thought-provoking staging and scenery.  The ending will leave you emotionally spent."


The fertile southwest corner of Australia is a near-perfect landscape for the unsettling events of The Xrossing to roll out from.  It is here - home to the scenic Margaret River wine region and the riverside capital of Perth - where the shocking news concerning the dead body of an 18-year-old teenager rages through one small community as if the discovery itself was an out-of-control bushfire threatening to lay claim to everything in its path.

The unspooling of civility begins slowly.  And for one group of friends, nothing will be the same again in the messy wake of the twine.  Everyone in Perth has their theories about the unsolved murder, but how can they prove who did it?

From the beginning of The Xrossing, audiences are keenly aware that there is definitely a deft hand guiding the dramatic events.  Those opening overhead drone shots as highways snake along toward the scene of the crime combined with the slow-motion effect of boys on bikes as they arrive to where the body was discovered is only one moment where sound and vision swings hard for the fence in first-time Writer/Director Steven J. Mihaljevich‘s stunning independent debut.

The Xrossing doesn’t let up on the visual inspiration as we are constantly rewarded with thought-provoking staging and scenery.  The ending will leave you emotionally spent.The Xrossing

But it is this unexpected discovery of a girl’s dead body which opens a well-made and lyrical coming-of-age narrative as three teenagers - Chris (Luke Morgan), Angus (Jamie Smith) and Shane (Jacob O’Neill) - find themselves throwing baseless claims toward the town’s silent and stoic stranger, Bobby (Kelton Pell, who is deeply effective in his role).  

For them and for most of the community, Bobby, an indigenous local, is their prime suspect.  One look at him is all they need to know of his guilt.  Who cares if there is no proof?  It is this negativity which threatens to upend most of the dreams in this movie.  Chris, stepping up to recognize Bobbie as a positive force, dares to break the cycle.

If you go into this film expecting to see three teenagers become super sleuths, think again.  There is a fragility woven into their trio which is evident right from the start.  This divide only deepens as Chris develops feelings for a classmate, Abbey (Georgia Eyers), listens to her, and finds himself falling for her.   And that crack amidst the boys is about to split wide open as Chris, our guide on this journey of self-discovery, decides to break away and befriend the stranger his friends all call suspect.

There is a brutal beauty to much of The Xrossing’s narrative.  There is also a whole lot of truth about humanity in a state of flux when bad habits need to die.  This film is about much more than friendship.  We have violent influences from Shane’s older half-brother (played by Mihaljevich himself), Chris’s future in film to consider, the angst of adolescence as it butts its head upon what it means to be a man, and the profound wisdom of the figure at the center of a community’s perceived guilt, Bobby himself.

Co-written and executively produced by Carl Maiorana, The Xrossing builds and builds and builds up its drama until it crashes down as the violent lightning strike sparking flames which cannot be controlled.  No amount of digging earth boundaries can contain the change which drives Chris forward.

But is it enough to stop the violence which threatens to pull down the sky above his head?

Micro budget productions do not get any better than this.  Hollywood, eat your heart out.  The Xrossing, from Playtime Motion Pictures, is currently playing with a limited theatrical engagement in Australia and streaming here in the United States on a variety of platforms.

5/5 stars

Film Details

The Xrossing

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
108 mins
: Steven J. Mihaljevich
Carl Maiorana; Steven J. Mihaljevich
Kelton Pell; Luke J. Morgan; Jacob O'Neill
: Drama | Crime
An unsolved murder inspires an unlikely friendship.
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Theatrical Distributor:
Playtime Motion Pictures
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Release Date:

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Synopsis: When a murder remains unsolved, 3 boys suspect and harass a reclusive indigenous man. One boy decides to break the cycle to make amends, however the inertia of past actions bring multiple characters to a crossroad and thrilling climax.


The Xrossing