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Choking Man [DVD]

Mandy Patinkin , Octavio Gomez Berrios , Steve Barron    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD

Price: 10.01 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Reviews

Product Description

Cited by film director Steven Soderburgh as 'everything an independent film should be' CHOKING MAN blends psychological drama and magic realism, creating a distinctive and striking story that encapsulates the contemporary immigrant experience in America.

Review

Strange, beautiful, yet understated...it leaves a lump in your throat --Little White Lies

A stylish indie love story...beautifully elegant --Dazed & Confused

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Titles of Choking Man 5 May 2013
By Alice Simpson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
A fine ensemble portrait of New Yorkers, those we pass on the street, stand next to on the subway, who serve our coffee, wash our dishes and hardly ever notice. Others have told you the premise, described the characters, hailed the camerawork, sound and light and praised the performances better than I could.

Moving and quietly poetic, I would like to sing the praises of the brilliantly-devised titles and animation that runs throughout, and which express the heart, breath and lifeblood of the "Outsiders" of this film. Rabbits, little girls, clouds and bursts of light are visual icons that seem familiar.

Jorge, aching to be heard, but choked by his morbid shyness, finds safety, hiding like a caged rabbit. When he is understood and treated with tenderness by the child-like Amy, we feel there is hope that he may conquer his demons; the voices that contradict him and hold him prisoner.

Watching a second time, the images of the poster and the animation come alive to remind me of the murals of another "Outsider," artist Henry Darger (1892-1905), who was, himself, one of those people hardly anyone noticed, and who, similarly, moved through life like a shadow.
Like Jorge, Darger's dress was shabby and he, too, was a solitary. Darger was institutionalized and considered feeble-minded.

The linear quality which Darger used in his murals, and his images of children, exotic flowers, butterflies and exploding bombs, seem to have influenced the Title Artist and illuminated "Choking Man."

If you appreciate slice-of-life films, films about real people, their struggles to connect, to be heard, and that reveal magic moments like flying carpets, I add my recommendation of "Choking Man."
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Could Easily Detest This Film.... 26 Aug 2009
By Giordano Bruno - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
... for its inefficiency and obscurity, and above all for its blatant Symbolism!, particularly the recurring "rabbit with one long ear" that seems to obsess the director/scriptwriter Steve Barron more plausibly than his central character Jorge. I could loathe this film for its unexplicated imputation of homosexual abuse in the relationship of Jorge to his shadowy roommate. I could spurn the intrusive graphics - doodles, cartoons, slick swirls of color emerging from food scraps - that seem to intend to reveal Jorge's subconscious perceptions but have no imaginable pertinence to his cultural mentality. Are there even jackrabbits in Ecuador? In short, I could hate this flick...

...but I don't! In fact, I found it riveting. Memorable. Unlike most American films these days, which I forget so quickly that I go blank if I try to review them. Why? First, the acting. Three unknowns play the leads, the psychotically shy dishwasher Jorge, the ebullient Chinese waitress Amy, and the cocky Italian kid who torments Jorge and hits on Amy. I'll leave them nameless. I hope they never become recognizable nameplated stars. Their acting talents are too fine to be wasted on stardom. They inhabit their identities in this plotless non-drama as persuasively as people whose lives one glimpses on a bus or in a queue. Second, the sound track: subtle, masterfully unobtrusive, tightly synched to the characters' moods. Composer Nico Muhly deserves to be named; may he often be employed in place of the usual Hollowwood hacks! Third, the cameraman, Antoine Vivas Denisov; his "independent" cinematography is quintessentially raw and akilter, and may it ever be so!

Fourth, and most important: it's creative. It's different. It's ambitious. What a joy it is to see a filmmaker taking chances, breaking modes, in this era of hyped banality!

I have no urge to explicate this film. Previous reviewers - Ms. Sound and Mr. Cousins especially - have offered insights enough. This production is being distributed by an entity called FILMMOVEMENT, which is dedicated to generating an audience for independent and experimental filmmakers. They have a DVD-of-the-month club. I'm thinking of joining.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Choking Man - The Unknowns Make This Movie 15 Nov 2008
By Mark - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Choking Man is a very good, albeit strange, movie. Those who are into thoughtful, creative independent movies that push the envelope need look no further. Granted, this type of movie is not for everyone. The main character, Jorge, is often living between fantasy and reality. Not all of his thoughts are kosher, and his inability to interact with others provides the main driver for most of the scenes. Yet if you can suspend judgment, there is so much to learn from this movie.

Along with very well written characters, promising young actors, a great supporting cast of veteran actors, this film also makes excellent use of visuals combining excellent photography and interesting animation sequences. In short, this movie really has an interesting blend presented in an imaginative way.

In the way of plot, there is not too much happening through many of the scenes. Our main character is a dishwasher in a diner, and most of what we see is happening in his mind. But his crush on waitress Amy, played by a bubbly and excellent Eugenia Yuan, conflicts with his shyness. Not only does he have to contend with aggressive competition from guys at the diner, he also has to deal with all the demons in his head.

New York City is also a central character in the movie. Travelling between Jamaica Queens and Harlem provides for some interesting characters. Anybody who's ever taken the subways between those neighborhoods knows what a trek it is. The sights and sounds of the subway and the grittiness of the people comes through. You can see Jorge avoiding interacting with others as much as possible, whether people are mean or nice.

The title of the movie comes from the info poster in the diner which shows a *choking man* and how to administer the Heimlich maneuver. The faceless man also becomes a character in Jorge's mind, blending with a sort of menacing alter-ego.

While the supporting cast is all good, it's a shame that big-name actors get top billing with it is these young unknowns who really carry the movie. Yes, Mandy Patinkin is here, and he is good as usual. But to be honest, his part barely makes use of his range and really is one that could have been filled by a character actor. Some of the Diner drama, such as the feuding waitresses and cooks, adds some atmosphere but at times seems to detract from the central story. It seems like somebody tried to squeeze a traditional story in there to hedge their bets against Jorge's imagination being too far out for even independent film audiences.

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. I've watched it more than 4 times over the past few months and each time I find something more to appreciate in it. Once again, this is not for the typical movie night. But if you want to watch something really subtle and creative, there's few new films that can top this.

Enjoy.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Phony, annoying and manipulative 9 Dec 2011
By J. Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Independent, low budget movies are my favorites. Movies about characters more than what they do are my favorites. Gritty movies set in gritty locations are my favorites. Movies in which almost nothing happens are my favorites. Movies filmed in New York are my favorites because New York is my home and my favorite place on earth. So I had great expectations for Choking Man, because it looked like it had nearly everything I love most in a movie. Man, was I disappointed!

This is a phony, manipulative and unrelentingly annoying movie. It's as phony, manipulative and unrelentingly annoying as a 1980s sitcom with a too-loud laugh track. Every character is a caricature: the dumb immigrant is EXTREMELY dumb; the old, brassy, heart-of-gold waitress is EXTREMELY brassy and gold-hearted; the gruff diner owner with a heart of gold is EXTREMELY gruff and gold-hearted; the obnoxious Irish bully is EXTREMELY obnoxious; the sweet Chinese girl is so sweet she made my teeth hurt. There is not one believable human being in the whole cast. I hated this movie.

People who go on and on about how great this movie is must love American television, because that's exactly where this movie belongs, as a TV movie on the Hallmark Channel or Lifeline or even on NBC or ABC or Fox. It takes all the things that can make a movie great and cheapens and twists them into a revolting, irritating glob of phony, rigged, forced emotionalism. This is no quirky, gritty, unconventional independent masterpiece. It is as predictable and conventional and crummy and corny and irritating as an episode of The Waltons.
3.0 out of 5 stars Mostly Predictable 8 Dec 2012
By Jim Van Cise - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I found this in a bin for $2 at a resale shop. I love Breaking Bad and had no idea that Aaron Paul was in this until I watched it. I can't recall a film that most of the plot was as I envisioned it before I viewed it. After all, my favorite movies do involve reluctant heroes. The third act seemed literally posted on the wall before the film was even made. Maybe it's because my first job was spent in a corner washing dishes in a Greek restaurant? Visually, I think the story succeeds in showing the point of view of a extremely introverted young man smothered under the weight of strong anxiety. There are days where I don't feel like talking to anyone and at times, that seems to attract the folks who can't breathe without frequent social interaction. I think the Jerry character harassed Jorge just short of being violent while the Asian waitress was there to show that someone else could successfully adjust to a new culture as well as Jorge fails to. Shy people (in some cases) ARE lazy and and bring out aggressive qualities in those that are forced to work with them. Bullying can stem from a frustrated person trying hard to get to know someone who is holding back.
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