Crossing the Line (2007) - Rotten Tomatoes

Crossing the Line2007

Crossing the Line (2007)



Critic Consensus: An engrossing look at the aftermath of largely forgotten events during the Cold War, Crossing the Line raises questions that will haunt the viewer after the credits roll.

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Movie Info

In 1962, a U.S. soldier sent to guard the peace in South Korea deserted his unit, walked across the most heavily fortified area on earth and defected to the Cold War enemy, the communist state of North Korea. He then simply disappeared from the face of the known world. He became a coveted star of the North Korean propaganda machine, and found fame acting in films, typecast as an evil American. He uses Korean as his daily language. He has three sons from two wives. He has now lived in North Korea twice as long as he has in America. At one time, there were four Americans living in North Korea. Today, just one remains. Now, after 45 years, the story of Comrade Joe, the last American defector in North Korea, is told.

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Critic Reviews for Crossing the Line

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (11)

The vertiginous play of ideology and identity and the sheer strangeness of Dresnok's experience (as well as that of three other American defectors from the sixties) make this film absorbing; the glimpses of life in North Korea make it important.

October 26, 2020 | Full Review…

A tale of alienation and adaptation both miraculous and strange, but also abduction both psychological and physical.

October 12, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Crossing The Line lacks the force and power of a strong point of view, but like Gordon's other work about North Korea, it succeeds in revealing what it means for individuals to give themselves over to a collective.

August 10, 2007 | Rating: B
Top Critic


August 10, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

You'll be untangling Dresnok's knotty reality long after you leave the theater.

August 10, 2007 | Rating: 3/4

[The] compelling story and the plentiful high-definition video images of North Korean daily life prove so fascinating that Crossing the Line is riveting.

August 10, 2007 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for Crossing the Line


Fascinating documentary about four U.S. Army soldiers who betrayed their country and defected to communist North Korea.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer


An absolutely fascinating documentary exploring the life and history of J. Joseph Dresnok, an American soldier stationed at the North-South Korean border in 1962 who defected to the Communist DPRK. This is a captivating film that really gives the viewer good insight into the daily life of a privileged North Korean. More than that, though, it delves into what would motivate a man to desert his country and start a new life. Highly, highly recommended.

Jay Hutchinson
Jay Hutchinson

Super Reviewer

A fascinating story about a man that did the unthinkable. He crossed over into North Korea and surrendered to their ideals and way of life. We are offered a look inside North Korea, one of the most isolated and intriguing places in the world. Dresnok is obviously a supporter of where he lives, and rarely says a bad word against it. The film does give us some interesting tidbits, such as Dresnok's troubled home life and youth, but the main focus is on a man and how he can live in a place most westerners would consider inhospitable. Their is a great emotional weight to the film, as Dresnok talks about his first failed marriage, and both of his marriages + children in North Korea. Underneath the surface is also the complex goings on between Dresnok and 3 other American GI's that defected. Dresnok may be the only one left, but the continuing battle of words between himself and Jenkins makes for one of cinemas great rivalries. It would be easy to call Dresnok brainwashed, if he didn't seem so down to earth and in control. Insightful, emotional, and never judging, this is how a documentary should be made.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

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