For some reason, James Gray‘s The Immigrant didn’t get released last fall as an awards contender. Like Snowpiercer, The Immigrant was far better than pretty much everything else Harvey Weinstein decided to release in 2013. Both movies sat on the shelf for a little bit, but thankfully for not too long. Snowpiercer and The Immigrant will have limited releases this summer, and it’s highly recommended to seek out the theaters that will show Gray and Bong Joon-ho‘s films. Both movies were made for the big screen. Bong Joon-ho’s exceptional control over tension makes for a true theatrical experience, while Gray’s new movie features gorgeous cinematography and another superb performance from Joaquin Phoenix that shouldn’t be first seen on your television set.
Following up his best film, Two Lovers, Gray tells the story of an immigrant, played by Marion Cottillard, hoping to make it in America with her sister. It’s an often moving, refreshingly funny, and smartly structured drama.
The trailer does the film justice:
One thing this moody trailer doesn’t communicate: how funny the movie is. The story of an immigrant who sells her body to save her sister could’ve easily been made into an overly self-serious drama, but that’s not the movie Gray made. While Cottillard is good, this is Phoenix’s movie. Not only does he earn big laughs as a C-level pimp — clearly he ain’t no Gator — and shoddy showman, but he gives a performance done with nuance, slowly revealing itself over the course of the story. Nothing is what it seems at first glance in Gray’s film. The Immigrant encapsulates the American dream: it sounds wonderful, but it could also be total B.S..
Speaking of B.S., take a look at this monstrous poster for The Immigrant. Who gave this the OK?
The Immigrant opens in limited release on May 16th.