Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Visitor (2008, Thomas McCarthy)

From the same writer/director who made the excellent film The Station Agent comes another excellent drama which explores the relationships between humans in such a perfectly acted and finely written way that you understand why critics have showered the film with rave reviews (93% percent on Rotten Tomatoes).

Richard Jenkins (who was excellent in Six Feet Under) is a lonely professor who one day is forced to travel to New York City. Upon arriving at his apartment there he is surprised to find an immigrant couple who have been living there for the past couple of weeks. Instead of kicking them out he decides to let them stay the night and through the next couple of days during his stay there he begins to form a friendship with the couple that begins to change his life.

The Visitor is just simply excellent. I feel like if I were to write a little bit here in this paragraph about why it is excellent I would just be rewriting what I mostly said in the first paragraph. McCarthy delivers an oscar worthy script and everyone in his cast, especially Jenkins, deliver oscar worthy performances as well.  It's these elements combined with McCarthy's great but subtle direction plus a simple, yet very deep, story about people getting to know eachother and becoming friends that makes The Visitor not only one of the very best of this year so far but also the best film that deals with the issues of living in a post 9/11 world so far. 

Really, it is just excellent stuff. It's a shame that it is a little bit too subtle and low key to be remembered come oscar time. I hope that the script will at least be remembered.


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