Friday, April 25, 2008

T for Transformative

Last Sunday Christi & I saw Tom McCarthy's 'The Visitor,' a small and subtle film, but a rewarding one. Richard Jenkins plays a middle-aged college professor, a widower who's more bored and lonely that he'd ever admit. His life is impercetibly, indescribably altered by his encounter with a pair of undocumented immigrants who've been duped into falsely rented his NY pad. Our hero soon breaks the ice with the Syrian musician and his Senegalese artisan wife and discovers unexpected joys but also sad current political realities. Never exaggerated, always believable, well-acted and well-director.

1. Four Words That Encapsule: 'Chance Meeting Alters Life'

2. Haiku: (5/7/5)
'Birth, love, location,
accidents of fate and choice;
World, just let them be!'

'We're all stuck in ruts
varied in extent and form;
Fly over cuckoo!'

3. Oblique Commentary: For McCarthy, a worthy follow-up to 2005's 'The Station Agent.' For Jenkins, known to many as Six Feet Under's late patriarch Nathaniel Fisher, a show of versatility, in which accent, posture, and body language make you forget Fisher pretty quickly.

4. Insight: McCarthy's on-location filming is dead-on, particularly Washington Square Park musicians and the dubious downscale 'detention facility' in deepest Queens. Without being heavy-handed or biased, McCarthy shows us the inane, impersonal, and ultimately cruel way in which detainees are 'handled.' (Of course, this is outsourced - privatization redux).

5. Link: Metacritic summary of reviews. Graded 80 by 23 reviewers, this is an A-/B+ and already among the year's better-received films.

Here's the trailer, judge for yourself:

Cartoon du Jour:

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