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Frownland

3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Ronald Bronstein describes his extraordinary film as "a brown tomato lobbed with spazmo aimed at the spotless surface of the silver screen." Frownland has garnered passionate raves and scathing denunciation. Screenings have ended in screaming matches. None of Frownland's reputation does justice to its savage dark humor, emotional heft and stylistic audacity. Frownland is a character study of Keith, a neurotic, manipulative, unlovable New Yorker. Keith lurches his way through an uncaring city, attempting to aid a suicidal friend, evict his roommate, and attain some self-respect.

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dore Mann, Paul Grimstad, David Sandholm, Carmine Marino, Mary Bronstein
  • Directors: Ronald Bronstein
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Factory 25
  • DVD Release Date: September 29, 2009
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002F3BPTK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,373 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Frownland" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Siegel on August 10, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Ronald Bronstein's ultra, ultra low budget film blew me away when I saw it in 2008. If you're sick of sitcom tripe like "Garden State" passing itself off as indie filmmaking, seek out the DVD of "Frownland" when it becomes available. The style is similar to Todd Solondz's work...but without the shooting-fish-in-a-barrel feel - the characters are sometimes cringingly awkward but REAL & the lead role by Dore Mann is truly one for the ages. The dark comedic aspects keep this rolling but it builds to a cataclysmic emotional effect and the finale has stayed with me for nearly a year. Shot on 16mm like the work of I'm sure one of Bronstein's influences, John Cassavettes.
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By David M. Rheingold on October 1, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Filmgoers who like residing in their emotional discomfort zone will find much to enjoy in Ronnie Bronstein and Dore Mann's debut film "Frownland." The film takes an empathetic if not sympathetic look at Keith Sontag (Mann), who sells coupons door-to-door for an organization posing as a charity. His friends--or at least those he considers friends--lead lives every bit as hollow and disconnected despite differences in race and class. The film feels voyeuristic in its naturalism, as if we are following around Keith with a hidden camera on his funny and painful journey.

Bronstein's low-frills approach invites comparison to Dogma 95, the movement to purify cinema by shedding soundtracks, lighting, and other elements of artifice. Yet the only Dogma 95 film I have seen, Denmark's The Celebration (1998), felt no less contrived in plot than do Hollywood blockbusters in computer-generated imagery. Bronstein said afterward that he considered not using any soundtrack, but changed his mind--and thank goodness he did, for the film's haunting melodies echo the emptiness of Keith's life.

Keith's equally stilted friends may want nothing to do with him, but Mann makes him a captivating presence for the film's 106 minutes. Originally Frownland was four hours long, but Bronstein pared it down after realizing one scene of Keith trying to sell a coupon would suffice for ten. Still, Mann's pained interactions with elderly suburbanites are so engaging one hopes the filmmakers will include at least some of the additional footage on DVD.

The main emotion Keith feels is betrayal, but even at the prodding of his off-screen therapist--the only one willing to listen to him--Keith cannot vocalize his alienation from his parents. The therapist, like the film, offers no answers.
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Format: DVD
Everyone has known someone like Keith, the main character in this film. Watching it is sad and uncomfortable.
Keith has serious problems.. the root of it could be some kind of stuttering or speech problem that has caused him to be pretty much a misfit. You can see why everyone around him gets tired of him, even he himself can see why people can't stand him... yet he keeps tying, because what else can he do? He has to earn rent and get by.

I guess the sad part is that he is forced to try and get along in the everyday world, which he clearly isn't fit for. Of course he ends up with a horrible job and wretched living situation.. both of which would be hard to tolerate for the most emotionally stable persom. We've all had similar horrid jobs and roommates, but most people grow up and move on. But there's a sense that Keith will never be able to do any better, and he knows it. He clearly needs some kind of help that probably is not available in the US... sad sad sad.

It is interesting to watch this along with the Norwegian film "Elling" to see how the functionally mentally ill are treated in other countries.
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