Revelation Perth Film Festival 2020: THE XROSSING

Two contradictory episodes open Steven J. Mihaljevich‘s The Xrossing, the lyrical suburban symphony that will be making its Australian premiere at the Revelation Perth Film Festival’s physical fest this year. Beginning with the discovery of the dead body of the 18-year old teenager Tracey Myers in Perth’s eastern hills, Shane Piggott‘s eclipsing drone footage pivots to the more edenic, provincial side of Western Australia, where the environmental serenity of the outback is disrupted by the bikes of three teenagers; Shane (Jacob O’Neill), Angus (Jamie Smith) and Chris (Luke Morgan), whose post-high school turbulence has them straying in disparate directions.

Mihaljevich‘s independent debut finds these three boys attempting to negotiate the elusive threshold between adolescent purity and the men they’ll eventually become; Chris has found his path through a film course at TAFE, whilst his close companions have chosen more apocalyptic avenues towards our perceived notions of manhood. Shane lives in the shadow of his half-brother Phoenix, a local gang boss played by Mihaljevich himself, who is another tragic figure sketched as a product of his surrounding social pressures, a lit fuse trying to avoid the inevitable demolition.

At Crossroads

After being routinely ignored at one of Phoenix’s backyard barnburners, the three guys affix their attention towards Bobby (a stoic Kelton Pell), the town’s recluse who is immediately pinned for Tracey’s murder because of his isolated nature and proximity to the murder scene.

Revelation Perth Film Festival 2020: THE XROSSING
source: Halo Films

After defacing his home with their baseless accusations, (‘Murderer’ is crudely graffitied across his front fence) Chris has a change of heart and attempts to make friends with the hermetic resident. As Bobby and Chris try to weave rage into poetry through music and film, Shane’s monastic loyalty to his older sibling threatens to consume the lives of the once-virtuous teenage trio.

This sympathetic ensemble piece gives an equal platform to each of its key players’ own perspective on the splintered situation; Piggot‘s amplified close-ups pierce into each character’s unspoken sadness, whether it be the implied regret that drifts through Bobby’s gruff exterior or Phoenix’s confused rage about being unable to save himself or those around him without permeating more senseless violence in the streets.

Chris acts as our anchoring presence, an amiable, affable teenager who learns to decelerate and work on his interpersonal relationships through his burgeoning romance with fellow classmate Abbey (Georgia Eyers), a friend who understands that it’s not the singular actions that define us, but how we choose to rectify or forgive the consequences of such choices.

Revelation Perth Film Festival 2020: THE XROSSING
source: Halo Films

The infrequent episodes of gang violence and brooding bromances are punctuated by sentimental, fleeting passages of Desmond W. Richardson and James Leadbitter‘s score that accentuate the film’s many montage moments, whether it be Abbey and Chris’ first date backlit by Australia’s vast outback scenery or the high-octane degeneracy of Phoenix’s street-shattering parties, with each mosaic passage sequentially contributing to the living, breathing tapestry of lost souls that Carl Maiorana and Mihaljevich‘s screenplay has elegantly assembled together.


This ragged, rural yarn feels like a distant cousin to Rachel Perkins‘ bruising adaptation of Jasper Jones, a coming-of-age story where one’s personal growth rapidly developed by the poetic mixture of love, death and the harsh realities of what adulthood actually entails. As cherished prejudices are abandoned and adopted in equal measures by this carousel of embittered figures, The Xrossing steadily forms into a heartbreaking variation on familiar story beats that blends regional melodrama with a hard-edged crime-thriller muscularity.

Mihaljevich‘s directorial efforts form a tender connection between a generation of those who understand that the youth is wasted on the young, and the tragic youth themselves, within an ironic parallel that renders this difficult internal reckoning in the real.

The Australian premiere of The Xrossing will be held at Revelation Film Festival in Perth on Thursday, December 10th at Luna Leederville, followed by a public release at The Backlot Perth from January 7th with an undated national release afterward, further details can be found at the film’s Facebook page.

The Revelation Perth International Film Festival – Physical Fest will be running from Dec 9th – 13th 2020, with details on screenings, festival events, and a full film program available here.

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