Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

The Visitor

     (15)

    Writer-director Tom McCarthy follows his 2003 drama The Station Agent with a well-intentioned if sometimes rather too obvious political drama.

    Widowed professor Walter Vale’s (Richard Jenkins) unexpected involvement with Syrian Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) and his Senegalese girlfriend Mouna (Danai Gurira), whom he finds squatting illegally in his Manhattan apartment, leads him finding a new meaning to his aimless life. The film gains immeasurably from character actor Jenkins’s extraordinary ability to neutralise a frequently clichéd screenplay.

    McCarthy uses his story to attack US immigration policy. Tarek is arrested and interned by Inland Security, leaving Vale to fight for him while embarking on a tentative romance with Tarek’s mother, Mouna (Hiam Abbass), which I found both improbable and over-contrived. (I also could not believe that a man of Vale’s sensitivity would subject his date to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera).

    Jenkins gives a superb, wry performance, making the most of his character’s gradual metamorphosis from arid academic to warm-hearted human being. He consistently raises the impact of a too-often predictably schematic story although even he cannot make real a final scene, which, while dramatically justifiable, is less believable than a political press release.

Film

Review: The New Man

Anne Joseph

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Review: The New Man
Film

Film review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find...

Michael Moran

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Film review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find...
Film

Baba Joon

JC Reporter

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Baba Joon
Film

Ben Younger: film director, action man

James Mottram

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Ben Younger: film director, action man
Film

A young heroine's long journey

Brigid Grauman

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A young heroine's long journey
Film

The Innocents (also titled as Agnus Dei)

Anne Joseph

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Innocents (also titled as Agnus Dei)
Film

Film review: Indignation

Anne Joseph

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Film review: Indignation
Film

Looking behind the Star Wars masks

Stephen Applebaum

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Looking behind the Star Wars masks
Film

Film review: American Pastoral

Anne Joseph

Friday, November 11, 2016

Film review: American Pastoral