November 7, 2007

Choking Man.

Choking Man At Slant, Ed Gonzalez takes a deep breath and writes, "Suggesting the bastard child of Miranda July and one of the Dardenne brothers, raised by Jessica Yu and mentored by Steven Soderbergh ('Choking Man is everything an independent film should be,' says the director of Bubble), the film evokes a comatose state, revolving around a Jamaica diner where Ecuadorian dishwasher Jorge (Octavio Gómez Berríoz) spends much time marveling at his navel lint, gawking at everyone beneath his bangs, scurrying through a hole in the fence out back to sit beneath a tangle of branches, and staring at the 'Choking Victim' poster above the sink."

Updated through 11/9.

"Choking Man has a tepid plotline, some stilted dialogue, and way too many pointless shots of the subway rumbling overhead. But the tender and spirited performances of its diverse cast elevate [director Steve] Barron's portrait of contemporary Queens life," writes Julia Wallace in the Voice, where she reminds us that Barron directed the "classic" 1985 video for a-ha's 'Take on Me,' directed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and produced While You Were Sleeping.

At the Reeler, ST VanAirsdale talks with Barron.

For Filmmaker, Nick Dawson talks with Barron "about his surprising move into indie filmmaking, spending his childhood on movie sets, and how Anthony Minghella got him the job directing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Earlier: David D'Arcy.

Update, 11/8: "While never achieving the full potential of its ethereal design, Choking Man has the guts to focus on an irritatingly distant character with enough nuances to turn him into an object of sympathy," writes Eric Kohn in the New York Press. "Like an upright David Lynch movie, Barron's story drifts between places both real and imagined, while faces and themes remain the only constants."

Update, 11/9: "Barron's ambitiously kaleidoscopic treatment of the experiences of a pathologically shy dishwasher from Ecuador draws together a compelling mix of characters but isn't always successful in its attempt to merge social and magic realism," writes Kevin Crust in the Los Angeles Times.

Bookmark and Share

Posted by dwhudson at November 7, 2007 7:23 AM


Ed Gonzalez usually spends too much time in his reviews looking for put-downs but he's exactly right about Choking Man.

Posted by: Dave at November 7, 2007 8:21 AM