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  • Smoke [VHS] [1996]
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Smoke [VHS] [1996]

27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Harvey Keitel, William Hurt, Giancarlo Esposito, José Zúñiga, Stephen Gevedon
  • Directors: Paul Auster, Wayne Wang
  • Writers: Paul Auster
  • Producers: Bob Weinstein, Diana Phillips, Greg Johnson, Harvey Weinstein, Hisami Kuroiwa
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Cinema Club
  • VHS Release Date: 7 Oct. 2002
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004RCJ3
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 357,244 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

During an extended period of writer's block, Brooklyn-based author Paul Benjamin (William Hurt) begins to spend more and more time hanging about his local cigar store. Its owner, Auggie Wren (Harvey Keitel), has more than a few tales of his own, as does a young man, Rashid (Harold Perrineau), who makes an unexpected entrance into the writer's life. Whilst Benjamin attempts to rediscover creative inspiration, Rashid embarks on a journey to find his real father. Award-winning author Paul Auster wrote the script, expanding upon one of his own short stories.

From Amazon.co.uk

It's refreshing to see a film in which the writer receives equal credit with the director, showing that the dialogue actually means something. So it is with Smoke, a film about a New York quilt of contemporary characters who cross paths in a corner smoke shop, told in straightforward way by a talented acting group. Author Paul Auster and director Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club) worked on the story for years before it reached the screen. Their characters include Paul (William Hurt, in a good role again), a grief-stricken novelist; Auggie (Harvey Keitel), the shop's owner with a secret passion; Ruby (Stockard Channing), Auggie's long-ago girlfriend; and Rashid (Harold Perrineau Jr), a teenager who is befriended by Paul and seeks his estranged father (Forest Whitaker). All the characters are great storytellers, whether it be out of loneliness, necessity or just nature. Like Auster's The Music of Chance, the film has accomplished an amazing feat: it makes us feel as if we are reading a serious novel, not watching a movie. --Doug Thomas

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Billy on 8 Sept. 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm going to find it very difficult to express in words how much this film means to me; not because of any deep, personal involvment, but simply becasue it is so utterly watchable. This is one of those offbeat, quirky little films that simply blows you away, without you knowing why or how exactly. Keitel and Hurt's performances are wonderfully subtle and underplayed, and I found it was the little, irrelevant things that fasinated me so - such as the way Hurt's character draws his little Dutch cigars through his lips before lighting it, and the fact that Auggie (Keitel's character), despite being a cigar connoisseur, smokes simple filter cigarettes.

This film won't appeal to all, but if you like your American films to come with a little less 'Crash, Bang, Whallop!' and a bit more intelligence, then you just have to buy this dvd.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By F. Sweet on 24 Aug. 2006
Format: DVD
This is the kind of off beat film that begins far away from its main point. So in a sense, it takes you on a journey. Especially, if you've grown up in very large urban centers where there were local neighborhoods with ancient, musty old small stores run by engaging proprietors this scene and story will resonate with you. But even if you did not enjoy the benefits of New York City's inner city, many of the characters can be similarly identified in daily rural life in Arkansas.

The grizzled and contemplative cigar store proprietor Auggie Wren is masterfully played by Harvey Keitel. He plays a man hanging on to his business while trying to sqeeze out of the dreariness of each day some kind of meaningful life. He doesn't go out to meet life ... it comes to meet him in his cigar store. A customer and not quite neighborhood friend played to its understated fullest by William Hurt, is a formerly celebrated novelist Paul now struggles with his tragic life and getting back to writing. The thread which connects the action is pulled through the film by a street wise teenage "black kid" calling himself "Rashid" is very well acted by Harold Perrineau Jr.

Everyone is searching for something in SMOKE. Rashid, his father; Paul his lost interest in life; and Auggie his lost meaning of life. Not all of the movie takes place in the cigar store ... b ut a lot of it does, and perhaps like Hitchcock in REAR WINDOW or THE ROPE, the photography and direcrting make it work. But there are many other scenes on sites to provide both variety and action.

This film not only works it is a terrific journey that promises to take you through many ideas and situations that are familiar and some bizarre. But they are always interesting and enjoyable. That's what entertainment is about.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "4everblunted" on 18 May 2004
Format: VHS Tape
This film is all about the storytelling. It deserves to be a bigger film than it was because it doesn't need to rely on explosions and action to be great. Its mainly due to the superb script which was written by some dude who i've never seen one of his other movies or even heard of any. But when you got 3 of hollywoods finest in the cast (Harvey Kietel, William Hurt & Forest Whitaker) then your always gonna end up with a film of the highest standards. If your looking for something that you can follow, that relys more on its story and its characters, then this is just about as good as it gets. recommended viewing.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gellit on 12 Oct. 2006
Format: DVD
Harvey Keitel may have run off with what plaudits there were for this hidden gem of a movie, but for me it is the performance of William Hurt that infuses the film with it's thoughtful, mellow, non-idealogical flavour.

There are a couple of scenes which Keitel and Hurt perform memorably together, one involving a collection of photographs and the final scene of the movie which is 'Augie Wren's Christmas Story' originally written by Paul Auster, and the creative spark behind the writing of the script. If you were to watch these two scenes alone I'd still recommend buying this film.

The dialogue is sharp and the direction leaves the actors to act, allowing them time to deliver as much with body language as with the spoken word. All of the cast shine (even Forrest Whittaker!) and apart from a slightly unconvincing eye patch the movie is absolutely flawless.

If you are at all interested in good contempory cinema this is an essential watch, and then a must have DVD. Enjoy it, it's a rare thing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "alfonzobonzo89" on 3 Mar. 2002
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I havn't seen this film since it first came out and can barely remember anything it, except that it is a great film. One of my favourites. A few things that I do remember are that I watched it on tv one morning and had a load of homework to do and knew that I should have been doing that but couldnt drag myself away from this piece of art. Thats what it is, art! Also, I hardly ever get emotional about films, but there is one scene at the end when the guy spends Christmas or Thanksgiving at this old ladies house because she thinks he is her son. Very touching.
I dont smoke and I like this film! Theres another great scene that I like where the two friends are looking through the photo albums of the corner outside the shop. That scene made me want to take up photography, and I did. Such an influential film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By hillbank68 TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Mar. 2011
Format: DVD
This is a lovely film from start to finish. Paul, a distinguished writer who has published nothing since the sudden death of his wife, lives alone in a small apartment in Brooklyn. He visits the Brooklyn Cigar shop regularly : Auggie, the proprietor, has become a friend. Round these two characters, the apartment and the shop several stories are built - principally of Tom, a quick-witted and engaging black youth who rescues Paul from walking in front of a truck, Tom's Dad Cyrus and Ruby, Auggie's one-time girlfriend, now a damaged and distressed woman desperate about her (and possibly his) daughter Felicity, who has gone to the bad, now four months pregnant, living a dangerous life, taking drugs.

The film is in 'sections', each prefaced by the name of one of the characters, but is in no way bitty or disjointed - just the opposite. It's sharply scripted, sometimes funny, sometimes reflective or sad. It is beautifully photographed - the opening shot of an L-train making its way across a New York cityscape is breathtaking, and it returns to that level often. Above all, the acting is excellent beyond words - from Harvey Kietel as Auggie, William Hurt as Paul, Forest Whitaker as Cyrus Cole, Harold Perrineau as Thomas, Stockard Channing as Ruby and, in a tiny, breathtaking cameo, Ashley Judd as Felicity.
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