Sunday, 22 June 2008

EIFF: The Visitor - Review by Guest Contributor Eva Hoffman

Director: Thomas McCarthy
Running Time: 108 mins

With his feature debut The Station Agent writer director Thomas McCarthy has set the mark very high for his second film The Visitor. He reaches it with exceptional ease. After his first hero, Finn, leaves the city and finds friends and meaning in the country, the new protagonist does the opposite. Walter Vale, lonely widower and desperately bored academic, returns to his long deserted flat in New York, only to find a pair of illegal immigrants living in it. The subsequent friendship lurks Walter out of his lethargy and when Syrian Tarek is arrested and in danger of deportation, Walter finally has something to fight for. Thomas McCarthy has immense respect for his figures and especially Richard Jenkins, of Six Feet Under fame, gives a heart rendering performance as Walter. McCarthy needs neither sentimentality nor cheap clich├ęs, almost humble in their set up his films are beautifully shot, perfectly written and brilliantly acted, here is a director who has a lot to say and knows exactly what he is doing and will hopefully do it again and again.

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