I'm from NY
Written by Volkan Maden and Matt O'Connell
Performed by 59's Finest
www.myspace.com/59sFinest See more »
An interesting early feature by Sean Baker
Sean Baker has made some really stunning micro budget films in recent years. Both his much lauded "Tangerine" and less known but equally excellent "Starlet" were wonderful comedy- dramas, artfully telling takes of those normally overlooked by mainstream cinema.
"Take Out" is not quite as strong as those later works, but is still well worth seeing.
This verite style study of a Chinese food deliveryman's desperate rush to earn $800 to pay off the loan sharks that helped pay his way to the US has a nifty sense of almost documentary realism. The acting is very real and understated (by a mixed cast of actors and non-pros), and the tension level is high.
I didn't have quite as strong a positive reaction as most of the critics for a few reasons. First, while avoiding movie clichés for the most part, a couple of key 'twists' are broadcast a mile off, dampening their impact. Also, by making his lead character such a cipher (he not only doesn't speak English, but seems inward and withdrawn even among his fellow Chinese), that it's hard to build up a connection with him as a character. Yes, we can pity his plight, but I wanted to understand what was going on in his head. Also, the shaky-cam shooting style occasionally called more attention to itself then I think it was intended to.
It reminded me a bit in tone of Ramin Bahrani's terrific "Man Push Cart", but for me that early work had a little more poetry and richness.
None-the-less, an intelligent, well-meaning micro budget film (it looks like it was shot on regular definition video), and - given my fondness for Baker's more recent films - I'll certainly go back for another look.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this