Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We Three Kings...

Three Businessmen(1999) Directed By Alex Cox
I didn't care much for this at first, but it's stuck out in my mind over the last few weeks. Miguel Sandoval and Alex Cox meet in a London hotel, and discover that as chance would have it they are both art dealers. They decide to go out to get a drink, but in "Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie" style they can never seem to sit down because of a series of absurdities that plague them every time they get close to eating. "I'm terrified of abundance!"Along the way they have "My Dinner With Andre" type conversations about life, death, the universe and everything. "If you want to get computers to work better, to have human like artificial intelligence, you have to teach them to suffer. As soon as they learn to suffer, they will feel guilty and want to work harder." The further they walk the less recognizable the neighborhood seems, and it becomes clear to the viewer though the characters continuously deny it, that they have impossibly wandered into different countries. By the end of the night they have traveled around the world, but instead of seeing China, they concede "Okay well we must be in China Town now". I sense a subtle critique of globalization, the way a single city could possibly represent every place on earth, an idea explored more thouroughly in the melancholic and more than ocassionally dull "Shijie (The World)". Its pleasant and amusing throughout, and the variety of city's at night recall a modern update of "Night On Earth". My favorite scene is of Sandoval, whose character is at turns, annoying, charming, and inexplicable, has a montage of reading books on his bed, titles like "The Multi-Orgasmic Man", which become increasingly complicated as the montage goes on. A minor example of man's search for meaning if ever there was one. There is also a twist at the end I wont give away, which may seem tacked on to some, but so much of the movie is stitched together, it doesn't seem too far out of place. After "Death And The Compass" I assumed Alex Cox just got lucky with his stroke of brilliance in "Repo Man", but "Three Businessman" proves he can still pull out a fresh trick or two.Three Businessmen is a unique and odd comedy, that allows a fine actor Miguel Sandoval to showcase his skills. Here is a man who is terribly typecast and minimized in his other roles. Also his business is actually based out of San Pedro, my home town, (which wins browny points from me). Especially since a film about the entire planet and coincidences, managed to zero in on my particular small corner of it, if only for a second. This is the best movie about traveling businessmen, uprooted from their homes and slowly but surely reality itself (or perhaps in the hands of a fate greater than themselves), since "The Big Kahunna". Sadly Robert Wisdom (who was awesome in "Storytelling") doesn't turn up until the end of the film. I guess you can't always get what you want, but sometimes a brisk walk and some fine coversation is just enough.

No comments: