Authentic, suspenseful, funny, and alive with surprising detail, Shih-Ching Tsou and Sean Baker’s Take Out “takes no false step as a scrupulous and socially conscious slice of life” (Nathan Lee, The New York Times), revealing an unseen world of illegal Chinese immigrants at work in New York City.
A day in the life of Ming Ding (Charles Jang, in a masterfully unselfconscious performance) begins as a pair of hammer-wielding loan sharks come to the door of Ming’s squalid apartment. Their ultimatum, delivered in Mandarin, is as simple as it is virtually impossible to fulfill: “You give us $800 tonight, or your debt is doubled.” With the family he supports half a world away, Ming has a single rain-soaked shift at his job -- anonymously and almost wordlessly delivering Chinese food on Manhattan’s Upper West Side -- in which to pay off his thuggish creditors.
Deftly combining a “terrific cast” (The New Yorker) of professionals and non-actors with uncompromisingly ingenious DV photography that is “beautiful in unexpected ways under rough-and-ready conditions” (Variety), Take Out intelligently illuminates an immigrant underdog and his small community of harried co-workers with the same in-the-moment, pragmatic honesty with which Ming endures the constant deprivations of life on the American margin. “This,” raved the Village Voice, “is as exceptional as micro-budget cinema gets.”
"The film’s bare bones guerrilla style, wonderfully shot and edited by Baker, brilliantly captures the harsh and unrewarding world of someone who has yet to experience any of the rewards that attract so many to this country." ***1/2 Highly Recommended Video Librarian
“Exceptional... Some of the most authentic neo-realism this side of De Sica.” – Aaron Hillis, THE VILLAGE VOICE
“A remarkable film... Baker and Tsou’s simple narrative feels like a richly authentic documentary.” – Shauna Lyon, THE NEW YORKER
“Keeps you on the edge of your seat... city guerilla filmmaking at its finest.” – Eric Monder, FILM JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL
“Takes no false step as a scrupulous and socially conscious slice of life” – Nathan Lee, THE NEW YORK TIMES
NOMINEE John Cassavetes Award INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS 2009
WINNER - BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE at Nashville International Film Festival