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Movie review: Powerful performances give strength to ‘The Immigrant’

By Scott D. Pierce

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published May 22 2014 03:24 pm • Last Updated May 27 2014 07:08 am

Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix turn in fine performances in James Gray’s "The Immigrant" — an evocative but almost unremittingly grim tale of the dark side of the American experience.

Ewa (Cotillard) and her sister, Magda (Angela Sarafyan), arrive at Ellis Island in 1921 and things go badly. Magda is yanked out of line and put in the infirmary; Ewa is about to be deported when she’s "saved" by Bruno (Phoenix) and taken to the Lower East Side, where life is dirty, grimy and hopeless.

At a glance


‘The Immigrant’

Opens Friday, May 23, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for sexual content, nudity and some language; 120 minutes.

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Bruno pimps Ewa out as quickly as he can manage, yet he seems to be in love with her at the same time. And so is Bruno’s cousin, Emil (Jeremy Renner), who offers Ewa hope.

Writer/director Gray envelops you in a world with little hope and less joy. It’s harsh and bleak. Cotillard’s outstanding portrayal of Ewa doesn’t quite shine through the gloom, it just manages to survive it.

She has great strength of will, but she’s fighting a war without any weapons.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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