If you missed The Immigrant as I did on its first release, find it and view it now.
Of what better leads can one dream? Cotillard, Phoenix and Renner. All three are as fine as film acting can be. Marion Cotillard is excruciatingly subtle, especially when she speaks with her eyes rather than with words.
Joaquin Phoenix adds one more portrait to a stout list of self-doubting and/or self-hating melancholy souls. Jeremy Renner as the small-time magician dancing and floating through life may suffer less, may be a shallower character. But he proves himself capable of making his own kind of sacrifice. Renner is so versatile that it seems not quite accurate to describe him as perfectly cast here.
Set during one of the peaks of historic immigration as waves of newcomers inundate Ellis Island, the story is a tale not often told of the perils, in the situation, for a woman alone on the island, or even on the boat before arrival.
It is an ugly story, beautifully told.
The engrossing cinematography captures the sepia of era photographs. And the final shot ranks at least with that of The Third Man as two of the greatest final frames in film history.
The Immigrant James Gray 2013
photography Darius Khondji
production design Happy Massee
NEXT FRIDAY POST December 22
See you at the movies,