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CrissCross (1992)

CrissCrossIf I had ever known that CrissCross was such a wonderful and powerful movie, I would have seen it long ago; instead of having it in my collection for ages unseen. There are several movies I have seen recently that have a similar overtone. Amongst them, Kind of the  Hill and The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things. CrissCross is a “coming of age” film and, at the same time, a sensitive drama. It is a combination that often produces powerful and touching masterpieces, this one being no exception.

moral anti-drug message

Based on Scott Sommer’s novel, the movie deals with the special relationship between a young single mother and her twelve-year-old son. Goldie Hawn plays a woman abandoned by her husband, who tries her best to provide for her son’s future. She works as a waitress in a small motel in Key West and serves drinks in a strip club. But soon, the lack of money forces her to become a stripper herself. From that moment on, the stories go on, almost like in the video clip of Metallica, Turn the Page.

  the film is not easy to watch

However, the story in the movie is told from the viewpoint of her son, the 12-year-old Criss (Davit Arnott). He is an innocent boy, wounded by his father’s absence, trying to help his Mom with money by doing several side jobs. One of them involves delivering fish regularly from a ship at sea to the hotel cook. One day he discovers that he is being used as a mule by the cook who secretly deals cocaine. He feels betrayed, but at the same time, he sees a chance to help his mom quit her stripping job by making enough money for both of them, selling drugs.

Davit Arnott

In the review written by Chris Hicks, Davit Arnott is said to “Resemble River Phoenix at this age.”, which is an odd fact, considering the many reviews in which one of the actors in Son of Rambow, Will Poulter, is said to resemble River Phoenix as well. It makes me wonder if that`s on purpose or purely coincidental. Another interesting fact is that Davit makes his debut in CrissCross, and as often happens, when debuting young actors, they deliver an unforgettable performance. He mostly narrates the movie’s story, and I could not help noticing his unique speaking style. Probably the best description of his talent was written by danchia in his review, “David Arnott played his role as the troubled teen, coming of age, with just the right balance of streetwise authenticity, vulnerability and innocence” ( source )

CrissCross 1992

Some people consider this movie’s action to be a bit slow-paced, but to me, this was not the case. Moreover, it seemed that the director did a good job dipping the viewers into the atmosphere of the late ’60s (hippies wandering the streets, rock and roll songs playing in the background ). The movie has several funny moments mostly related to Criss`s coming of age and inexperience.

 CrissCross Trailer

  “CrissCross” is rated R for violence, profanity, vulgarity, nudity, sex and drugs

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  1. I just watched this film on Amazon Prime. It is outstanding. And young David Arnott is the person that carries this film. I cannot understand why this is David Arnott’s only work and I can’t find out a thing more about his life on the net. So, does anybody know what became of this fine young naturally gifted actor?

  2. This is a difficult movie to find in the UK. It’s not on release on optical media and not available on Netflix etc. nor available for sale on Amazon USA for “copyright reasons.”

    Having read several negative reviews (including some frankly unkind ones about young David Arnott’s performance) I hadn’t bothered making the effort to seek this one out until I read your review. And, although we often (if not usually) differ in our opinions, Georgi, I nevertheless trust your judgment and eventually solved the issue by ordering the DVD from Canada (luckily, I have a multi-region player!)

    I’m glad I did. It’s not that I was much taken with the story: I thought it had little to say about dysfunctional parenting and child neglect/abuse (but then I felt the same about “The Heart is Deceitful…”) and I rather baulked at its moralistic take on controlled drugs.

    However, the performances from Goldie Hawn (who moved well out of her comfort zone here) and the newcomer David were outstanding. I don’t understand the negative reviews at all. I thought that young Arnott gave an outstandingly convincing portrayal — he acted as a kid, not a Hollywood version of how a kid should act. He carried the film’s flimsy plot with his verisimilitude. Such a shame it was his only role.

    Maybe these ugly middle-aged reviewers were just jealous of him. He was, after all, an exceptionally handsome young teen (if one’s allowed to make such an observation in innocence these days, LOL) — and I agree that he bore scant resemblance to River Pheonix (where that opinion came from I can’t imagine.)

    Critic are screwed up: this is a wonderful film, though it would have benefitted from a stronger storyline, in my opinion.

    • To be entirely honest the wardrobe choices for David Arnott apear to be quite purposeful, but this does not differentiate the film than any other production. Criss Cross is a popular film despite it being rather hard to obtain and your observations only confirm that if not the storyline, it can be the acting, the cinematography or any other aspect of a film that makes an impact on the viewers. Trough the symbiosis of all those works best, but than again not every title can be a masterpiece.


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Crisscross deals with the special relationship between a young single mother and her twelve-year old son

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