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Three Businessmen [DVD]

Miguel Sandoval , Robert Wisdom , Alex Cox    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Miguel Sandoval, Robert Wisdom, Alex Cox, Andrew Schofield, Isabel Ampudia
  • Directors: Alex Cox
  • Writers: Tod Davies
  • Producers: Christine Colvin, Tod Davies, Katsumi Ishikuma, Wim Kayzer
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Ilc
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Feb 2001
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000058DG3
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 131,475 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Alex Cox's Three Businessman is an existentialist fable for the independent businessman. Two travelling art dealers staying in a labyrinthine Liverpool hotel, Frank King (Alex Cox) and Bennie Reyes (Miguel Sandoval of Clear and Present Danger), sit down for dinner only to find that the hotel staff have deserted them. They begin to walk the Mersey streets in search of sustenance, talking about dogs, dinner, the "Plutonium" credit card and the state of the world. But lost without a map, they inadvertently wander half way across the world on public transport in search of their hotel, touching down in Rotterdam, Hong Kong, Japan and Spain. In a desert, they come across a third businessman, Leroy Jasper (Robert Wisdom), clutching a replica of the Mir space station. Soon after, they stumble across a food stand outside a small abode that holds within it the true object of their quest. It is a destination that they have found without looking for. This small, mannered movie grows in stature as it progresses. Sandoval and Cox are amiably crotchety travelling companions. Aided and abetted by jump cuts, the surrealist conceit that allows the businessman to roam across the world without ever realising they have left Liverpool is distinctly Bunuelian (cf. the name of Cox's production company Exterminating Angel Films).

On the DVD: An amusing commentary by Alex Cox and writing partner and producer Tod Davies has the added bonus of Cox acting out deleted scenes. The feature appears in widescreen format with an excellent sound and picture transfer, enhanced by Pray for Rain's melancholic soundtrack. But the Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop promo video promised on the sleeve and liner notes does not appear anywhere on the disc. --Chris Campion

Product Description

When art dealers Bennie (Miguel Sandoval) and Frank (Alex Cox) have no luck trying to get a meal in the abandoned dining room of a Liverpool hotel they set out into the city looking for something to eat. However, for one reason or another, each of the restaurants they visit proves unsatisfactory and before they know it they have travelled halfway around the world, caught up in their trivial prattle, and still without finding any food. This all changes with the dawn, when they meet another hungry businessman and eat breakfast at a stall in the street.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Alex Cox film 1 Jun 2001
I think that with this, as with all of the Alex Cox films I have seen, it is an aquired taste. Some parts of this (and other Cox films) may just seem too tiedious or perhaps too stupid. But I really enjoyed this film, I thought it was really well filmed with intresting use of continuous shots and humour. Although seems quite aimless at times I felt that it was still entertaining as it was seemingly down to earth but yet with that usual Alex Cox underlying un-predictability and strangness. I juts loved the way the film flowed and how it wasn't so mainstream and seemed quite realistic, which is almost less of an Alex Cox style of film compared to 'Repo Man' or 'Straight to Hell'. Overall I thought it was a great film, with good performances (even from the director) and made me want to see more of the directors work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I was initially attracted to this film, though unfamiliar with Alex Cox's work, due to the film being set in Liverpool which definitely appealed to me. The film itself is marvellous, with excellent performances throughout and a wondefully surreal plot. In places the film has the dramatic quality of a Pinter or Beckett play with long pauses in the dialogue which emphasises the uncomfortable social embarrassment of the characters in certain scenes. The films ultimate punchline, though unforeseable through most of the film, is a little strained but the films ambiguous ending makes up for this, assuming, like me, you appreciate ambiguity as an art form. If you like your films different, surreal and thought provoking, give this one a try. I did and enjoyed it immensely.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A duo's surreal search for sustenance 30 May 2001
By Wayne - Published on
The film begins by showing us the grand old buildings of Liverpool, England. An old man walks in front of one of them and in the next shot enters Lime Street Station. You wouldn't think that this is relevant, but it is. In Alex Cox's Three Businessmen most things that are on view in the frame are relevant. Cox describes the film as "Buñuelian". You could say that it is something along the lines of one of the maestro's films, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeosie, because the two main protagonists have the same problem - they can't seem to find a meal and a place to eat. The two main protagonists in question are art dealers Bennie Reyes (Miguel Sandoval) and Frank King (Alex Cox). The two men meet while waiting for food in a hotel's dining room. The food doesn't arrive, and the eerie hotel is mysteriously empty, so the chaps go in search of a meal around Liverpool, which proves to be a difficult task as their search is thwarted constantly. Their crusade takes them into foreign locations, even though the men think they are in Liverpool throughout. It's a very enjoyable and inventive surreal film.
The DVD picture is in widescreen and fine. The sound is in Dolby 2.0 and alright. The main menu is a static shot of the Three Businessmen and has the Debbie Harry song, "Ghost Riders in the Sky playing". There are eight chapters. The extras are just a commentary by director Alex Cox and writer/producer Tod Davies. It is an excellent commentary featuring amusing commercial interludes by Alex Cox. Tod Davies is good, too, explaining all the background on the making of the film. Funny, insightful and interesting.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 2001 for the 21st Century 17 July 2002
By sebastian hope - Published on
On it's face, Three Businessmen is the story of two men looking for dinner in a strange town. But, as Hitchcock might say, that is just the MacGuffin around which this tantilizing tale of the everyman lost in a world they have no way of understanding. The two stars, Miguel "The West Wing" Sandoval and director Alex Cox, accidently travel the world by public transport without noticing. They talk and try to get something to eat; they argue; they discuss; they mesmerize.
And there is a connection to 2001 in here.
The commentary by Cox and writer/producer Todd Davies is funny and informative. Like being stuck in the movie theater with two intellegent hecklers.
Gosh this is a good movie. I watch it more often then almost any other movie in my collection. Watch it yourself.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for... 26 Feb 2009
By Matthew D. Reel - Published on
Bennie has just arrived in Liverpool, obviously on business, but the details are sketchy. He arrives at this gorgeous hotel that has about as many quirks as any place I've seen on film. The doors have no room numbers, the hallways are a maze, and everything is completely dark. It is agonizing watching this man drag all of his luggage through such emptiness, we can only sympathize with him. But it is a minor tragedy, afterall, and soon Bennie finds his room. That's how this film is structured, a series of miniscule and minor tragedies painting an oddly dark landscape. Having set up shop with his computer, printer, and coffee pot (in a jacuzzi suite that has only one electrical outlet), Bennie soon finds himself bored. He goes through books, paces around, blesses the room with sage smoke... Yes, this is an odd little movie. But we see that he is waiting for something, he keeps glancing at his cell phone... Nobody calls, so Bennie decides the best bet is to find something to eat.

The hotel's restaurant is this wide open ballroom, as beautiful as it is obnoxious with an abundance of chandeliers and very bright lighting... It is empty, sans one other person. Bennie is seated next to another businessmen patiently awaiting his meal. The time lingers and soon enough, Bennie makes just enough of an annoyance to get the other patron's attention. His name is Frank, and soon we find they are both in the "art business". I should point out at some point, Bennie is the obnoxious American type... Much to the chagrin of a very polite English Frank. But a small relationship is established, and after a very long period of time the food still has not arrived... So, noticing that this restaurant doesn't even have the smell of food, Bennie takes the initiative to visit the kitchen... Which is completely abandoned... Cue slow panning shot and one of the few pieces of musical score to reveal on of the most depressing moments of the film.

OK, so these guys aren't going to eat in the hotel it seems, so they decide to hit the streets to find something to eat. They wander the streets for twenty four hours with some idle, sometimes confrontational, chit chat... Completely oblivious to the fact that the setting is changing around them... The fact that they don't see Hong Kong harbor outside their Liverpool ferry pretty much sums what this film is about...

But... There's more!

Brought to you by the man responsible for Sid & Nancy, Repo Man, and Straight to Hell, Alex Cox weaves perhaps one of the most subtle and insidious films I have ever seen. I don't know why I've put off seeing Cox's later work, perhaps because I didn't believe he could maintain the same level of insanity that he had during the eighties... That seems to be the case for most genre directors, so I didn't keep my hopes up. This is about as clever, if not more so, than his early work. Just as before, I am always astounded at Cox's ability to weave so many non sequiturs into a film and give them as great of gravity as the key points to the film. It is not as obvious as say Repo Man, considering that the pace is excruciatingly slow, but so much the better for us.

The description on the DVD mentions Beckett, and that about sums up this film. This is probably the closest I have seen to a cinematic equivalent to Waiting for Godot. The description above pretty much sums up the progress of the entire movie, and in the wrong (perhaps right) mindset, you will be as completely oblivious as Bennie and Frank. Unlike Godot, however, Three Businessmen does have a punchline and the last act is hard to ignore the drastic changes occurring around our two businessmen. The title is Three Businessmen, but the third doesn't make his way in until this cosmic joke is reaching its climax so I will leave it at that. But I will say that this film is one giant joke, the kind that if told would take ten minutes to tell before the one-liner conclusion. This is a joke that involves Bennie, Frank and their soon would-be counterpart, and when the punchline comes it doesn't seem to make much of a difference between the three.

On the FAQ at Alex Cox's site regarding Three Businessmen, when asked what the film is about: "Certainly is. It's the story of Bennie and Frank, two independent businessmen, who meet by chance in the restaurant of the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool. Unable to find food therein, they set out in search of dinner." That's enough for me, but when writer Tod Davies is asked the same question: "It's not what it's about. It's just what happens. There is some confusion that these two things are the same, in the movies. But they are not."

Fair enough.
4.0 out of 5 stars My lack of dinner without Andre - 4 & 1/2 stars 26 Jan 2014
By William Timothy Lukeman - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Here's a film that might at first seem frustrating at times, but gradually grows in fascination & sheer watchability. The plot, such as it is? An American art dealer in Liverpool meets an English art dealer in the strangely empty restaurant of their hotel. Unable to find anyone else in the kitchen, they set out to find dinner ... an overnight journey that somehow leads them through several countries around the world, as they converse about the banal, the bizarre, and those fleeting insights that pass like birds before our eyes, hardly noticed.

Well, as the opening titles proclaim this "An Exterminating Angel Film" a la Bunuel, it's clear that we're in Surreal territory. At first I was trying too hard to make sense of it, to fit everything together; but once I simply relaxed & went with it, simply enjoying the journey itself, it made a lot more sense on a visceral level, just as long as I didn't try to put it into words. In short, it has the quality of a vivid dream, one that's crystal-clear while inside of it, but is hard to grasp once you wake. It does remind me of "My Dinner With Andre" in some ways, but it's more like one of Andre's otherworldly experiences than that film's conversation itself.

While I'm not sure that every part of the film works or coheres as much as I'd like -- and that may well be my problem, not the film's -- I'll definitely be watching it again soon. It's that rare thing, a film that takes you some place new & different, even if it means that it's making itself up as it goes ... or seems to, anyway. That quality might not appeal to every viewer, to be sure! But if you're in the mood to try something experimental & weirdly fun, you could do a lot worse -- highly recommended!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rather Boring 2 Mar 2009
By David Holt - Published on
First of all, I love Luis Bunuel and surrealism. Also a movie doesn't have to make sense to be great. I found this film to be VERY boring. I never got to the third businessman because I went along on the ride with the first two for long enough. Usually, I'll hang with a movie until the end but just couldn't with this one. I found the first two characters to be, well boring and completely uninteresting. I think surrealism should be surreal, how about some crazy weird things thrown in to make you go WTF? Also the lack of a weird soundtrack (like with Lynch films) would have worked if something interesting was being shown.

So the guy can't find his room and the numbers don't match? I thought the hotel restaurant scene was okay but the conversation was again boring as hell. Why not make these characters more interesting? I found the cinematography to be uninspiring and uncreative. In fact, it looks like it was shot and cut by a first year film student. What was with the sudden color correction in the dark alley?

In a surreal film like this a LOT more could have been done to make it interesting. Plus, it took way to long to get going (actually it never got going anywhere?)

Hey, if two guys walking around talking about nothing interesting, trying to find a place to eat and get a drink but get lost sounds cool, then get this movie.
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