Plot: What’s it about?
The year is 1921 and Ewa (Marion Cotillard) and her sister are immigrants trying to come into America. Her sister is sickly and is taken away for quarantine for six months. Ewa is close to being deported until Bruno Weiss (Joaquin Phoenix) sees her and takes her to his home. He learns of her stealing and puts her to work as a showgirl and for prostitution. He does appear to be falling for her as well. Another ripple in the water appears when a magician appears. Jeremy Renner plays Emil. He’s Bruno’s cousin, but also falls for her as well. You can get a good idea how the rest of the film plays out. Truthfully, the story took me by surprise by its simplicity. One might look at it and think there’s more to the surface, but there’s really not. Ewa simply wants her and her sister to be reunited.
I must admit that I’m neither the biggest fan of Phoenix or Renner. I can’t say they’re bad actors by any means, but they just don’t do much for me. Outside of a few roles, most notably in The Dark Knight Rises, I am not overly familiar with Cotillard. I do think she does a good job here, though. She shows a vulnerable side that makes it easy to stand behind and care about her character. While I enjoyed the film more than I was initially expecting, I still can’t say it did a ton for me. The story too often meanders without much purpose. I found myself strangely detached from much of what was happening on screen. There were times when the acting did take me out of the movie. Phoenix just seemed like he was trying too hard, and it turn it had the opposite effect. Renner doesn’t fare much better. Not only is his character uninteresting, but he doesn’t really enhance it in anyway. The final scene is emotional, but by that time the film didn’t garner my interest enough. It might make a decent rental, but it’s nothing I ever wish to return to.
Video: How’s it look?
The image is fine as far as details go, but there was a strange color throughout a lot of scenes. There’s seemed to be a yellowish tint to a lot of scenes. This might’ve been intentional, but it was definitely something that will be easily detected. The print showed no major flaws. I think the transfer will satisfy fans, but the colors just seemed odd to me at times. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.40:1 ratio.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The film isn’t one that will challenge your system, but it gets the job done anyhow. The DTS HD track handles things nicely. This is a talky film, but the vocals always appeared clean and crisp sounding with no issues. The score came out nicely, adding to the rear channels at times. All in all, this track does what it needs to do.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Director James Gray provides his thoughts over the film.
- The Visual inspiration for The Immigrant – Just under 3 minutes of the filmmakers discussing paintings that inspired the film’s look.
- Theatrical Trailer and Previews
The Bottom Line
It didn’t do much for me, but I still didn’t hate it. The Immigrant works well at times, but there’s not much below the surface. Cotillard does nice work, but I found the performances from Phoenix and Renner to be lacking. The story itself isn’t overly interesting either. I can’t advise more than a rental.