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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
I appreciated this film a lot. The focus of the story is a quiet, shy person named Jorge who has a connection with a new waitress at the diner where he works as a dishwasher. Every night, he goes home to a small sad apartment where a man "lives". Note: in my opinion, this man is a hallucination, and Jorge likely has some serious PTSD or other debilitating psychological problem.
His problem is an allegory for the choking man.
At one "explosive" point in the movie, he does something that frees him, and he banishes his demons. However, working up to that point, he appears painfully shy, possibly homicidal at times (because he cannot express what he wants to say/do) and at the very least very angry or desperate. But how he reacts is to quietly observe, dash away, hide, and wait to be found.
I loved the story unfolding, I loved the odd daydream-like animations (note, many of the animations flow into "demon" shapes, and his hallucinatory "roommate" has some perverse sexual imagery that Jorge tries hard to block out, but the animations are otherwise about bunnies and sweet things.) Score is great, as has been mentioned.
I thought this actor was extraordinarily good with a part that has very little speaking. This is a guy who can act with this eyes. Supporting cast is appropriate, desperate, have small stories that are additive and round it out.
Good film if you like awkward, flawed characters. It's just stories about sweet, flawed folks playing out over a Thanksgiving. That's what was so great. I don't think the fact that many are "immigrants" is important in the story, they just happen to have accents, and it adds to the sweetness.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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