Director: James Gray
Year Released: 2013
Polish nurse Ewa (Marion Cotillard) comes to the United States with her sickly sister Magda (Angela Sarafyan) but cannot survive on her own, leaving her dependent on a sketchy theatre producer/pimp (Joaquin Phoenix) ... though she eventually gets involved with his cousin, a magician (Jeremy Renner). While Gray's no slouch as a director - his Two Lovers, also with Phoenix, remains a personal favorite - this one is too dour and unimaginative to make much of an impression: Cotillard's Ewa is constantly being sexually assaulted/used/betrayed to the point where you wonder why she doesn't just jump on the boat and go back to Poland immediately (I know, I know, she hangs in there for her sister but a human being can only take so much), Phoenix's character is a sociopathic crackpot and Renner, though only in this briefly, provides a sigh of relief as a decent person (and, being decent in this slummy jaundiced world, he's murdered). There are worthwhile movies made about the American Experience and coming to this country, but this barely has enough will-power to chug through its unsurprising storyline.