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MARION COTILLARD & JOAQUIN PHOENIX IN THE IMMIGRANT

year: 2014
The term “out of the frying pan, into the fire” has never been more befitting than in THE IMMIGRANT, where Marion Cotillard plays Ewa Cybulska, a polish refugee stuck on Ellis Island during the 1920s... 

About to be deported, Ewa meets Leon, played by Joaquin Phoenix, and doesn’t trust him one bit... Not even when he takes her home to an apartment, provides her with food and a comfortable bed… She obviously realizes, deep down, something’s not only up his sleeve but his heart is beating desperately there.

rating: **
A bizarre "romance" ensues, which is completely one-sided and unrequited. Phoenix, no stranger to eerie, creepy losers, holds an intense candle for the soft-spoken Ewa that burns to the touch. And Leon is not just another pimp. He also runs a minstrel show where his ladies perform before snaring potential customers.

The most interesting scenes involve Ewa reluctantly becoming a prostitute, all to pay for her (unseen) sister’s rehabilitation. Cotillard's expressions are morose and melancholy yet there’s a world-weary countenance mixed in: She may be new to the tricks, but is no stranger to the rodeo. And while the lovely French DARK KNIGHT RISES actress blends into the stylishly somber atmosphere, Phoenix, as a character possibly inspired by Ben Gazzara’s creative yet oblivious strip show owner in THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE, seems surprisingly out of place…

As does Jeremy Renner as Leon’s cousin, a charming magician promising Ewa a way out of the nightmare. Not only is Renner's gentleman suitor much too good to be true, he slights the film's edgy realism. Through all the exasperating torment, and no matter how many traumas our put-upon heroine suffers, it all seems too easy, somehow. 
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