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Choking Man is an intense blend of psychological drama and magical realism that encapsulates the contemporary immigrant experience in America. Jorge is a morbidly shy Ecuadorian dishwasher toiling away in a shabby Jamaica, Queens, New York diner run by Rick. He works all day long in the shadow of the ever-present Heimlich Maneuver instruction poster which hangs in the diner kitchen. From his solitary kitchen corner, Jorge gropes mutely for a bond with Amy, the newly hired Chinese waitress and even though she tries to reciprocate, the gulf that separates them may be too large. On the job he is continually tormented by his coworker Jerry and at home in his Harlem boarding, under the psychological control of his domineering 'roomate,' he battles his inner demons. Set in the vicinity of JFK airport, the most culturally diverse neighborhood in the world, Choking Man captures the feeling of claustrophobia and almost literal asphyxiation newcomers to America experience as they struggle to ... Written by
Flawed movie, annoying main character, played out atop wonderful score
I was going thru the cable guide one Saturday night, and I added a bunch of indie films from Sundance and IFC to my DVR record list. I recorded a few movies, and tonight I watched the first- Choking Man. It's the story of an Ecuadorian dishwasher working at a small diner in Queens who suffers from severe social anxiety and falls in love with a new Chinese waitress.
The film is well made, the director knew what he was doing and the DP did a very nice job of making it all look fantastic. The action was broken up by scenes of animation dominated by bunny rabbits and other odd stuff. Those animated sequences were dream-like, and it all blended together nicely.
The music was really fantastic- a lot of bells, toy piano sounding stuff, slow yet flowing music that added a nice depth to the action on screen. The music was a character in itself in some places, used aptly to convey a whole slew of emotions that a lot of the character themselves never portrayed all that strongly.
The movie overall- not all that great. The main character, Jorge who supposedly suffers from morbid shyness well, he came off as retarded. You would meet someone like this and wonder if there was something wrong with them mentally. Shyness is one thing, but refusing to even look at people or say anything to them when they ask you a question- I've never encountered anyone like that, and if I did I'd probably just assume they suffer from mental retardation and leave it at that.
The problem with this movie is that Jorge isn't just unlikeable. He's worse. He's annoying. He's SO weird you don't really care what happens to him. I'm sure people like him exist in this world, but they're so far out on the periphery that in a film like this- he almost seems completely fake. The guy just comes off so badly to me that I didn't even want to see him. I would have rather watched scenes from any other character in this movie, as long as Jorge never showed his face.
That is a major problem for me, and one that cannot be overcome. It's the film's downfall. That and it was weird. There are a number of very odd things that happen in the movie and don't make a lot of sense. Someone will try to say it's deep and thoughtful, and that I just didn't get it. If so- I say 'oh well.' I certainly won't cry over that.
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