Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Roar Power
Jurassic World unleashed on iTunes
Halo 5 Guardians
The Master Chief returns
Movie News

UK Teaser Trailer And Poster For Pride And Prejudice And Zombies
How to succeed in polite society...
Ron Perlman Part Of Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
And he may be a fantastic beast
First Promo And Poster For Paul Bettany's Shelter
Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Mackie live on the streets
Exclusive New Poster For Tangerine
'Tis the season to get even
Samara Weaving Will Be The Babysitter
In McG's coming-of-age horror
Horror Comic The Woods Heading To Television
Universal Cable Productions does deal with Boom!
More Movie News

First Promo And Poster For Paul Bettany's Shelter
Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Mackie live on the streets
More Movie News

We'll Never Have Paris
30 December 2019
More Future Films

I Believe In Miracles (2015)
Empire Star Rating
By Our Selves (2015)
Empire Star Rating
Macbeth (2015)
Empire Star Rating
Bill (2015)
Empire Star Rating
Irrational Man (2015)
Empire Star Rating
More new cinemas releases
DVD & Blu-ray releases

Cannes 2013: The Immigrant Initial Reaction
Cannes 2013: The Immigrant Initial Reaction
James Gray's latest gets a deportation order

24 May 2013  |  Written by Damon Wise  

submit to reddit

the immigrant james gray

James Gray has been a fixture in Cannes since The Yards in 2000, much to the bemusement of UK press who fail to see why he is so consistently invited. His latest, The Immigrant, is by far the least of all the films he's submitted, being a very plain melodrama that could have come from the Hallmark Channel if it weren't for its triumvirate of Oscar-nominated leads. Though it's safe to say the Golden Globes will find places at the dinner table for Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner and Marion Cotillard, Gray's latest is a middlebrow period piece that crawls along at a snail's pace and won't find too much favour at the box office.

It begins in the early ’20s, with the Polish Sonya (Cotillard) and her consumptive sister lining up on Ellis Island, hoping to be granted American citizenship. The sister is taken to hospital for examination and Sonya is refused entry, on the grounds that she may be a “loose woman”, but a kindly stranger, Bruno (Phoenix), takes her in and gives her a bed. Bruno, it turns out, runs an illegal strip club in Manhattan that doubles as a brothel, and Sonya is appalled. Nevertheless, she needs money to pay for her sister's hospital treatment and reluctantly does what Bruno asks of her.
To say how Renner's dancing magician Orlando enters the frame would spoil what little there is that's surprising about the film, but The Immigrant soon becomes an unlikely love triangle: unlikely, since the characters are so very unloveable. There is no chemistry whatsoever – because the writing doesn't call for any – and although Phoenix starts out promisingly as a charming but devious pimp, the spark never becomes a flame. What's left is the excellent cinematography and production design, which leaves one thinking not of simmering passions but all the mottled, muddy-brown wallpaper.

Have Your Say
To comment on this, and all articles, register for free or login now.

Tom Cruise Drops Out Of Man From U.N.C.L.E.
He wants to focus on the new Mission: Impossible
Disney Re-Scales Pete's Dragon
UPDATE: David Lowery in talks to direct his script

Your Comments

RE: Typo or just plainly inaccurate?
Relevant username is relevant More

Posted by UTB at 04:14 on 28 May 2013 | Report This Post

RE: Typo or just plainly inaccurate?
Swell? More

Posted by DancingClown at 23:12 on 27 May 2013 | Report This Post

RE: Typo or just plainly inaccurate?
Right, that's swell that you've seen it. But how can we trust your opinion - when you even get basic facts wrong? More

Posted by themoviejerk at 21:32 on 27 May 2013 | Report This Post

RE: Typo or just plainly inaccurate?
I can assure you I did see The Immigrant. Seeing up to five films a day and posting to short deadlines, details sometimes blur. More

Posted by Damon_Wise at 15:40 on 25 May 2013 | Report This Post

Typo or just plainly inaccurate?
I happened to see The Immigrant in Cannes - and I can't help but notice a certain mistake in this article. Cotillard's character isn't called Sonya but Ewa Cybulski, and she's not Ukranian but Polish. It makes me begin to wonder whether this critic has actually seen the film. More

Posted by themoviejerk at 10:22 on 25 May 2013 | Report This Post

How does this guy get to keep making movies?
And with big stars, too. I don't know what Joaquin Phoenix sees in him. Strangely I've seen both The Yards and We Own The Night, and both have been the most boring, lifeless pieces of work I've laid eyes on. More

Posted by Madhava at 13:33 on 24 May 2013 | Report This Post

Empire's Best Horror Films For Halloween
An unlucky thirteen triple-bills

Emily Blunt Talks Sicario
On the five-star thriller, puke acting and taking Tom Cruise to The Box

Denis Villeneuve Talks Sicario
On his cartel thriller and the upcoming Blade Runner sequel

Tomorrowland: The Viewing Guide
Brad Bird talks through his sci-fi adventure, scene by scene

Empire Meets Ridley Scott
The great director on The Martian, Blade Runner 2 and the Prometheus sequels

Life On Mars: Trips To The Red Planet
A dozen of cinema's Martian misadventures

10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Toys You’ll Want To Own
Falcon quad copter? BB-8 Sphero? We’re already asking for pay raises…

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)