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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by Thomas McCarthy
USA 2007


A deeply moving drama built around longtime character actor Richard Jenkins, The Visitor is a simmering drama about a college professor and recent widower, Walter Vale (Jenkins), who discovers a pair of homeless, illegal aliens living in his New York apartment. After the mix-up is resolved, Vale invites the couple--a young, Syrian musician named Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) and his Senegalese girlfriend (Danai Gurira--to stay with him. An unlikely friendship develops between the retiring, quiet Vale and the vital Tarek, and the former begins to loosen up and respond to Tarek’s drumming lessons as if something in him waiting to be liberated has finally arrived. All goes well until Tarek is hauled in by immigration authorities and threatened with deportation. His mother, Mouna (Hiam Abbass), turns up and stays with Vale, sparking a renewed if subdued interest in courtship. But the wheels of injustice in immigration crush all manner of hopes in post-9/11 America. Vale soon realizes his unexpected capacity for anger over Tarek’s plight, and the positive changes to his personal life that emerged from a deep involvement with his friend and Mouna, might be the only legacy he takes from this experience. Writer-director Thomas McCarthy has created a wonderfully measured story about change and renewal, and put it all on the shoulders of Jenkins, a largely unheralded but masterful performer whose time for renown has surely come.

Excerpt from Tom Keogh at Amazon located HERE


Theatrical Release: September 7th, 2007 (Toronto Film Festival)

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DVD Review: Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:43:40 
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.34 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1) - commentary in 2.0
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by director Tom McCarthy and actor Richard Jenkins
• An Inside Look at The Visitor (4:48)
• Playing the Djembe (7:47)
• Deleted Scenes (3:21) with optional commentary
• Trailer (2:31)

DVD Release Date: October 7th, 200
Keep Case
Chapters: 16



Firstly - an absolutely wonderful film. I am find this manner of understated storytelling extremely endearing. It is quite brilliant in its narrative layout, and hence we strongly recommend seeing it.

The dual-layered Anchor Bay DVD offers an immediate choice of widescreen (anamorphic) in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio or full-frame (1:33). By today's standards perhaps somewhat of an archaic choice but it didn't seem to hog enough of the disc space to deter the widescreen image quality - which looks quite acceptable. It is clear and clean with decent detail and colors which I am sure all pale in comparison to the simultaneously released Blu-ray. I, personally, felt this image was quite adequate to relate the film experience.

There is a relatively unused 5.1 track that supports the films dialogue-heavy sequences accurately and audibly. I didn't note much rear speaker activity which the film doesn't export. English subtitles are optional.

Extras include a fairly slow paced and quiet commentary from director McCarthy and actor Jenkins. Nothing much of importance is related as they tend to let the film do the storytelling - enjoying some the scenes themselves. There are two featurettes - one, at less than 5 minutes, entitled "An Inside Look at The Visitor" that is nothing more than a longish advertisement. The second gives a brief overview in playing the Djembe (drum). There are also 3.5 minutes of inconsequential deleted scenes with an optional commentary by the pair from the feature discussion and finally a theatrical trailer.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the supplements - the film comes with a strong recommendation. I am anxious to see more written/directed work from McCarthy - this was one of the most enjoyable films I have seen this year on DVD. 

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC



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