Directed by James Gray

Written By Richard Menello and James Gray

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner

You can read a good review of this movie in almost any publication. But I cannot write one. For me this story of an Polish immigrant (Cotillard) coming to Ellis Island and being rescued (supposedly) by Bruno, an impresario of a sleazy, cheesy strip-show and prostitution ring, is riddled with cliché, tonal problems and inconsistency in character. It feels fake in almost every frame. The movie wants it both ways with almost every character. Ewa is both wily and innocent. Bruno (Phoenix) is a scoundrel, a cheat, a hysteric but the savior of a group of women (none are developed at all). Orlando (Renner) is a troublemaker that’s been given almost no time to shape his character—does he just want to upstage his cousin with Ewa? Scene after scene tells us a story we’ve seen many times before. Certainly, the film looks good, Cotillard especially, but Phoenix seems to be channeling his character from THE MASTER. How many overheated performances can we expect from him?

I can’t recommend this movie but you may like it. It seems that lots of people do. Let me know.

Patti Abbott