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The Visitor 

Deftly written and directed by Thomas McCarthy (The Station Agent), The Visitor begins as a gradual, simple story of a mid-life cultural awakening but finishes as a scathing indictment of paranoid American immigration policies. Walter Vale (Richard Jenkins, the dead dad from Six Feet Under) is a character type familiar from recent pictures such as The Savages and Smart People, the crusty professor out of touch with his own life. Here he chases renewal through a young couple he finds living in his under-used New York apartment. Their names are Zainab (Danai Gurira) and Tarek (Haaz Sleiman), immigrants pursuingthe American dream without green cards. When Tarek has a run-in with New York cops, Walter begins to understand how few rights the disenfranchised newcomer has in a post 9/11 world,where the job of "corrections management"---including deportation---is outsourced to faceless, Orwellian corporations. (CK)

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