Monday, June 16, 2008

the visitor

So not that I have anything against Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Indiana Jones, or Kung Fu Pandas (CS, when are we going to see that?), but I am telling you to skip all those summer action flicks and go see The Visitor.

The movie takes on the subject of undocumented immigrants and the ways their situations changed after September 11th. It's gut-wrenching and well paced, sensitive and serious. I think it's from the same fellow who directed The Station Agent, a sweet but more vanilla movie. So I suppose this represents a maturation.

I was really moved by it. Lovely performances all around and a good deal of restraint in rendering the ways Middle Eastern folks are taken from their families in the United States and lost in an anonymous international shuffle of deportation. Particularly effective is a tragic scene when the protagonist Walter takes his anger out on an agent working the desk at the detention center. It's hard to tell who—Walter or the agent—appears more powerless in the machine.