The grass is always greener on the other side, especially if that side happens to be Manhattan, the home of the American Dream. Luckily for Polish immigrant Ewa Cybulski (Marion Cotillard), a charming American man called Bruno Weiss (Joaquin Phoenix) takes and interest in her and sweeps her off her feet and onto a boat to the promised land… where he forces her into a life of prostitution.
Yes, if Grand Theft Auto IV taught us anything, it’s that things don’t always go well for Eastern Europeans who travel to the USA in the hopes of finding a new lease on life. So it goes for Ewa in the new international trailer for The Immigrant, the latest offering from director and co-writer James Gray, who has previously worked with Cotillard in crime drama Blood Ties and with Phoenix on multiple titles, including Two Lovers and We Own the Night.
The third key player in this drama is Jeremy Renner (The Avengers), who plays Bruno’s cousin Emil, a magician who also takes an interest in Ewa and offers her the promise of an escape from her life in Bruno’s clutches. The chemistry of this sort-of love triangle is what drives The Immigrant‘s story forward, and two new clips from the film show windows into Ewa’s relationship with both Bruno and Emil. What’s particularly interesting is how at first glance Bruno does come across as kind and altruistic, suggesting that The Immigrant may well try to rook the audience in the same way that Ewa is fooled.
The Immigrant premiered at Cannes earlier this year, and while not all critics were enamored with it, reviews were generally positive. Among the elements that have been consistently praised are the cinematography by Darius Khondji (Amour), which evokes the 1920s era with golden and sepia hues, and the performances by the three lead actors. The Immigrant seems to be a character study rather than a more broad examination of the period in which it is set, and should provide a worthy showcase for Cotillard, Renner and Phoenix’s talents.
Gray’s next project is The Lost City of Z, in which Benedict Cumberbatch will play adventurer Percy Fawcett who, in 1925, embarked on an expedition to find a lost city that he believed to be El Dorado. Perhaps he found it and decided that he liked it enough to stay, because Fawcett disappeared without a trace. Being set at more or less the same time, The Immigrant may well be considered a precursor to The Lost City of Z, allowing Gray to get familiar with the period before sending Cumberbatch off into the Amazon.
The Immigrant is screening at multiple film festivals worldwide, but so far The Weinstein Company has not announced a release date.