The Immigrant, The Rover – Movie Reviews

The ImmigrantThe Immigrant – R
Release Date: Fri 23 May 2014

The Immigrant tells an intriguing and deeply moving story set in a claustrophobic 1920’s New York that feels incredibly authentic. The wonderful sets and period costumes are muted to keep the performances front and center, and the film is lit as if by candlelight. Scenes fade the instant they get their point across. It is a beautiful film with outstanding performances that deserve to be seen.

Marion Cotillard plays Ewa, an immigrant from Poland who fled after her parents were killed by soldiers. When she arrives at Ellis Island with her sister Magda, the two are separated as Magda is found to have tuberculosis. On top of this, the inspector tells her that the address she provides for her aunt and uncle expecting them in New York does not exist, and so she is held to await a hearing after which she is all but guaranteed to be deported.

It is here when Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix) spots her and rescues her, bribing the officials and secreting her away to a ferry and into an apartment. It quickly becomes clear that Bruno is something of a rogue – he is running something like a burlesque show and quietly pimping the women in it to patrons. The movie appears to be setting up a story of exploitation but it continues to keep you guessing. Jeremy Renner also appears as a magician named Orlando who may also be trying to help or take advantage of Ewa’s situation.

Throughout it all, we get plenty of evidence that Ewa is a person of strong convictions and loyalty. At her most vulnerable, she is strong and in the rare situation where she has the upper hand, she is humble. All three of these main performances are spellbinding. You’ll believe and understand every action taken. The plot keeps you guessing as the more that is revealed about the characters the less we seem to know about them after all.

One minor point – while there is some nudity and violence in this movie, viewers should know that all of the prostitution itself is implied and happens offscreen. There are those that would enjoy this movie who might be afraid to see something akin to rape, and I’m happy to report that while there are elements in the story regarding prostitution it is not explicitly depicted.

Hannah and I saw it in the theater had a discussion in the car:

The RoverThe Rover – R
Release Date: Fri 20 Jun 2014

Writer/Director David Michôd (Animal Kingdom) presents us with a lawless Australian landscape filled with simultaneously dangerous and interesting people. Eric (Guy Pearce) has his car stolen when a trio of robbers accidentally bottom out their getaway car next to his. He frees it and takes up a pursuit, seemingly willing to die to get it back. What is so important about this car? He finds Rey (Robert Pattinson) injured and trying to get into the robbers’ car. Rey is the brother of one of the robbers, and Eric decides to take him along to help find his car faster. Rey is motivated by revenge as his brother seemingly left him behind to die. Both lead actors look like they’ve been starved and baked in the sun. Pearce is gaunt and missing patches of hair. Pattinson has ugly teeth and an accent that would have fit into Slingblade.

While the story itself is quite bleak, the amount of depth in the performances of every character – even minor ones that we only see for a few minutes – seem completely rooted in truth. They have all seen and done terrible things and are prepared for the worst. Eric and Rey’s trek is similar to something out of Breaking Bad where every situation goes worse than we expect it to. There is no glory in the violence and no black comedy to be found either.

Yet the movie is not at all depressing. It is sad at times, but it is mainly thought-provoking. It’s easy for us to see ourselves making similar decisions to those made by Eric and Rey under similar circumstances. The events of the movie are second to their impact on the characters in them and the audience is right there with them. You’ll be thinking about these characters long after the credits roll.

Hannah and I saw it in the theater had a discussion in the car:


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