Three Businessmen (1998)

Three Businessmen (1998)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Three Businessmen Photos

Movie Info

Alex Cox directed this comedy-fantasy screenplay by Tod Davies in a variety of locations (American Southwest, Hong Kong, Rotterdam). With a plot premise reminiscent of Martin Scorsese's After Hours, American art dealer Bennie (Miguel Sandoval) arrives in Liverpool and gets to his hotel with great difficulty, while British art dealer Frank King (Cox) has no such problem. Abandoned by the waiter in the hotel's restaurant, the two head out into the rainy Liverpool night but find mostly closed restaurants, eventually choosing a Greek restaurant where Bennie has an anxiety attack. They move on but find no satisfaction at a Chinese restaurant or a Japanese restaurant. Hunger pangs surface as they travel about via subway, bus, ferry and taxi. Eventually, they arrive in the middle of a desert where they meet another lost and hungry businessman, Leroy Jasper (Robert Wisdom). Shown at the 1998 Hamptons Film Festival.
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Comedy , Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Exterminating Angel

Cast

Critic Reviews for Three Businessmen

All Critics (3)

It was a film that pleasantly brought to surface odd moments and was filled with quirky comments.

Full Review… | January 28, 2002
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

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Full Review… | April 24, 2012
Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review Database

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August 26, 2005
EmanuelLevy.Com

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October 17, 2002
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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Full Review… | May 20, 2002
Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review Database

Audience Reviews for Three Businessmen

It's interesting that "Three Businessmen" is credited as "An Exterminating Angel Production," because the film's debt to Luis Bunuel is obvious -- particularly in light of "The Exterminating Angel" and "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie," Bunuel's two masterpieces about mysteriously interrupted activity. "Lost in Translation" fans also will see some familiar turf here. Directed but not written by Alex Cox ("Repo Man," "Sid and Nancy"), "Three Businessmen" was shot in five different locations including Liverpool, Rotterdam, Hong Kong and Tokyo. But you may not notice the transitions (after all, so many cities have Asian districts). A motley cast drifts in and out of the frame, but most of the film's scant 80 minutes rest upon just two actors: Cox himself and Miguel Sandoval (who has appeared in most of Cox's projects). They play art dealers who happen to meet in a posh Liverpool hotel. Bennie (Sandoval) is a restless, overly friendly sort who strains to charm people with smarmy nicknames and comic accents. His part is somewhat overwritten, and this is the film's worst flaw. Meanwhile, Frank (Cox, quite solid as a performer) is the straight man who's a bit impatient and irritable. He likes to carefully tear articles out of newspapers. We don't know why. The two are frustrated with their hotel's lack of restaurant service, so they trek into the surrounding streets to find a meal. Their attempts to eat ("discreet" attempts, perhaps?) are repeatedly thwarted and they soon lose their bearings. They have many conversations along the way, though -- some intriguing, some dull. And wherever they go, they see posters advertising someone named Daddy Z. We don't know why. Stick around, even if the lack of plot irritates you -- there's a clever, absurdist ending that perfectly wraps up the story. And rest assured, the film's title eventually will make sense.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

½

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 cities 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, that 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. 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 moving about traveling businessmen, uprooted from their homes and slowly but surely reality itself(or perhaps into 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.

Joseph Sylvers
Joseph Sylvers
½

What a film! It's so ridiculously off-beat that you can't look away. I don't even really know what it meant or even what I watched, but I loved it.

Matt Kendrick
Matt Kendrick

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