I finally caught up with James Gray’s “The Immigrant” at the New York Film Festival. (TOH reviewed it at Cannes, where it met a mixed response.) I have appreciated the New York filmmaker’s work in the past, especially “Two Lovers,” one of four of Gray’s films to star Joaquin Phoenix.
But this handsome production, despite solid acting from French star Marion Cotillard as a lovely Polish emigre who is caught in a tug-of-war between a lower east side whoremonger (Phoenix) and a magician (Jeremy Renner), does not satisfy. There’s too little narrative to hang onto; the script is listless and repetitive. This is one of those films where you feel that all the energy went into slavishly recreating the 1920s New York milieu; you leave humming the sets.
At the NYFF press conference (see video below), Gray had to do all the talking, as Phoenix seemed to be there to lend moral support but not much else. The Weinstein Co. has not announced an official release date in 2014.
Part One: The Origins
Part Two: The Look
Part Three: The Story
Part Four: Film vs. Digital