Sunday, April 27, 2008

Movie Review - The Visitor

Yep, another movie review here.
Took a gamble and went to this "artsy" indy film tonight. I enjoyed it to a certain extent, but at the same time I think the film could have been better. (My friend fell asleep during this one, so I know at least one person who didn't like this one ;)

The Visitor (imdb)>
view the trailer here. (note, after time, this link to the trailer won't work anymore).
What I liked most about this film was that it was a story. I am finding that I enjoy movies that are based upon a story, and it doesn't have to be a complicated story either. Just tell me something about a person or a place and I'll listen/watch and probably enjoy it.
It was a slow movie. No car chases, no explosions, etc... But sometimes you need movies like this (well, I do anyway).
What mostly drew me to give this movie a chance was that it was directed by Tom McCarthy who also directed one of my all time favorite movies called "The Station Agent" (imdb).
The Visitor was a story of an older man named Walter (A professor at a college) who has fallen into a rut in life. Just going through the motions everyday, and not really "living". (I wished the movie focused more on this line, but not so much). Then, for work reasons he goes to New York City. While there, he meets up with a man, Tarek, who is from Syria, and his girlfriend from Senegal. The man, Tarek, is a drummer (on a Djembe). As Walter starts to emerge from his everyday life he takes an interest in the drum music, and starts to build a relationship with Tarek. Then we learn the problems involved...
Spoiler alert - you might want to stop reading if you don't want to know more about this movie.
still here? good.
We learn that Tarek and his girlfriend Zainab, are in this country illegally. Tarek ends up getting arrested and then gets put in a detention center. The movie then starts to get a little political and attempts to show some of the "injustice" regarding how a person of illegal status is treated. I noticed a lot of "not so subtle" background images during the filming (images of the American Flag, the Statue of Liberty, the Twin Towers, etc...).
Overall, I liked the story and the acting. But, I felt Walter was just a tad bit too stiff for the role. It felt "forced" that he liked music.
I didn't like the way the film ended either, but I won't go into that.
Bottom line: I can't recommend this movie to just anyone. The dialog was a little stiff and the political message was a bit much, but if you want to see a neat story, then go ahead and rent this one.

One final note:
I SO want a Djembe now!!!
I had half wanted one before, but after seeing and hearing one on the big screen I want one :)
That's a common symptom for me when I see a movie. I tend to get absorbed in a movie then come away thinking "I could do that" or "wouldn't it be neat if I tried ___" - I'll have to wait this desire out, cause I really have no room in my apt for a Djembe, and it's not like my area has a lot of drum circles I can visit. Oh well.

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