A Splintered Family Descends into a Rescue Mission in Collisions

Neither fire nor ICE shall fully cleave these children from their mother.

­The opening titles of Richard Levien’s drama Collisions state that the parent of a young United States citizen is deported every four minutes. This gives the film an unquestionable timeliness, but it also belies the fact that Collisions tells its story in a timeless way. When her mother Yoana (Ana de la Reguera) is nabbed by ICE, twelve-year-old San Francisco native Itan (Izabella Alvarez) and her younger brother Neto (Jason Garcia) enlist the reluctant aid of their Uncle Evencio (Jesse Garcia), a truck-driving reprobate, to track Yoana down before she’s deported. Itan considers Evencio to be rude and unprofessional but Neto becomes a fan, and Garcia the actor evinces a Michael Peña-level charm. But the heart of the film is the prickly relationship between Itan and Evencio, and their gradual bonding makes Collisions play like a modern take on John Ford’s The Searchers. There are also hints of the venerable myth of Orpheus — especially Marcel Camus’ Black Orpheus — as Yoana and Itan navigate a system designed to keep them from communicating, though it’s established early and often that Itan is a STEM wizard who hopes to get into a science academy. She’s undaunted by the challenges facing her, and the ultimately hopeful Collisions suggests that love and intelligence will win out over stupid cruelty.

Not rated. Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.

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