Movie Review: Three Businessmen

Dennis suggests Three Businessmen (in Incredibly Strange).  Director Alex Cox, after the cultishly-popular excellence of Repo Man and Sid & Nancy, has slowly retreated from commercial viability, one decreasingly-distributed project at a time (Walker*, Straight to Hell**, Highway Patrolman, Death and the Compass, The Winner, Revenger’s Tragedy, and so on).  Which isn’t to say, at all, that his films aren’t still ambitious, interesting, and reliably weird and surprising; in fact, I’d put his odd little oeuvre up against mega-budgeted ‘quirky’ directors like Terry Gilliam and the massively-overrated Tim Burton any day of the week- it’s just that he has no money, and no one seems to care.  Ouch.  Anyway, this 1998, minibudgeted gabfest is a nicely weird little project that should entertain anyone looking for something in the minor key.  It follows two businessmen, Bennie (Cox regular Miguel Sandoval) a garrulous American and Frank (Cox himself) a sensible Brit as they encounter each other in an empty hotel dining room in Liverpool, start to chat, and then realize that, inexplicably, no one is coming to take their order, ever.  As they venture out into the nearly-deserted nighttime streets, they encounter odd people, bewildering directions, and an utter inability to get anyone to serve them anything to eat.  It’s all a doodle, but an entertaining one, with the chatty Sandoval and the wry Cox making a deft little comedy team- sort of a roving, increasingly-starving My Dinner With Andre.  Cox, especially, proves himself a really capable screen presence (which is good, because if his career keeps heading in the same direction, he’s not going to be able to afford any other actors).  A neat little thing, with a funny, out-of-nowhere ending.  Look for ‘The Wire”s Bunny Colvin Robert Wisdom as the late-arriving, titular, third businessman.

*The good people at Criterion did their best, choosing this berserk Coxian anachronistic, historical, satirical black comedy for the deluxe treatment.  It hasn’t helped him much, though…

**Ahh..Straight to Hell…perhaps the perfect drinking movie.  Look for a boozy future review…

Published in: on July 3, 2009 at 1:52 am  Leave a Comment  

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