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The Big Empty


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Editorial Reviews

Acclaimed writer/director Jon Favreau stars as a struggling actor about to enter a weirdly comic twilight zone. After agreeing to deliver a mysterious suitcase to a remote desert truck stop in exchange for 25K, John Person finds himself trapped in a biza

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jon Favreau, Joey Lauren Adams, Kelsey Grammer, Daryl Hannah, Sean Bean
  • Directors: Steve Anderson
  • Writers: Steve Anderson
  • Producers: Jon Favreau, Andrew Spaulding, Doug Mankoff, Gregg L. Daniel, Jeffrey Kramer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: April 20, 2004
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001FGBSE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,786 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Big Empty" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Toni on April 21, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is probably one of the very best independent movies that I've had the pleasure to watch. The acting, directing, editing, script and cinematography were all excellent. What could have been a silly movie, turned out to be a real gem. Every cast member did their part, with standout performances by John Favreau, the always brilliant Sean Bean, and even Kelsey Grammar, of whom I'm not a huge fan.
When John Person (Favreau) is approached to simply deliver a blue suitcase to Cowboy (Bean) in of all places, Baker, California, the fun begins. Nothing is what it seems to the very last frame.
I highly recommend that you buy this movie. My only complaint is that it wasn't given a wider release.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Luigi on February 13, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Comedy at first, x-files after and twilight zone in the end. Overall: VERY GOOD!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By RBSProds TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 21, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Five Spooky Stars! Where has this one been hiding? Mystery is the key here in this independent film and there's plenty of it right up to the very wild end. This film is somewhat in the area code of NIck Cage's "Red Rock West" at the beginning, but it goes in another direction after it gets going. Then what started out as a quirky film kicks it up a notch and becomes a really weird, enjoyable, and special DVD.

Premise: an out of work actor has huge bills, needs a job, and gets way more than he bargains for when he's offered work by a neighbor to take a mysterious suitcase to an equally mysterious person: because it leads him out into "the big empty". Can't give any more clues without the possibility of ruining it for you. My advice is to see it twice because you'll never see all of the clues the first time through. The second time through, the clues are like glowing neon lights.

The cast list may be misleading: you may not recognize some of the names, but you'll instantly know the faces of this wild ensemble. Jon Favreau is great as the lead. Sean Bean is wonderfully creepy, and Jon Gries, Joey Lauren Adams, Adam Beach, Melora Walters, Gary Farmer and the rest of the crew are excellent. Kelsey Grammer is a surprise who adds alot of big name credibility to the movie. And, trust me, Rachael Leigh Cook gets my vote as flat out one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. And there is one surprise actor that you won't recognize until the credits are rolling, which may prompt you to hit the reverse button fast. Incidentially, the first scene between Jon and Rachael Leigh at the motel door is a real "hoot" that may slip past you on the first viewing. Pay attention!

This movie, which went direct to VHS/DVD, is a wild ride and it's a keeper (I've kept it for 5 years now).
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Only-A-Child VINE VOICE on October 18, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Ever wonder what you would have if the Coen brothers collaborated with David Lynch on a small independent film? Destined for cult classic status, "The Big Empty" is a strange blend of "Mulholland Drive" and "The Big Lebowski". So if you liked either or both of these classics you should track down the DVD, it has important special features that shed a little light on just what writer/director Steve Anderson was trying to communicate with this interesting film.

I have beefed up this comment a little since my original viewing because I have found "The Big Empty" gets even better with repeated viewings. The wry humor can best be enjoyed when you are not wrestling with the progress of the story itself.

I have heard that there are deleted scenes that show him taking this thing in the direction of the old "Twilight Zone" episode where the aliens entice humans to a planetary paradise with a book titled "Serving Humans", which actually turns out to be a cook book. There are also elements reminiscent of that suicide cult in San Diego in the mid-1990's.

"The Big Empty" has some relatively big names in its cast including Kelsey Grammar (a FBI agent), Joe Gries (from "The Pretender"), Rachel Leigh Cook (the town Lolita), and Darryl Hannah (Lolita's Mother). For the first time a Cook character is very sexy, it must be the hair style. The performances and deadpan humor save the day as the story itself is a little too expressionistic and open-ended for most viewers.

Although the film gets off to a quick start and is never boring, Anderson (in the Lynch tradition) has to cheat and leave some things unresolved at the end, because it is simply impossible to tie all the disparate elements together conventionally. But this makes for interesting discussion with other members of "The Big Empty" cult.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By leslies_library on May 4, 2004
Format: DVD
Although primarily a mystery, I found this film to have a quirky, offbeat, intelligent type of humor. This is not a typical scifi flick, but a most enjoyable independent film.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 23, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A good movie which deserved a wider distribution. Proved that you don't need buckets full of money and wild special effects to make a suspenseful and funny movie. Great performances by all the cast. Nice extras--too bad they didn't keep the alternate ending. Anyone who has ever been stuck in a highway town can appreciate that it would only take one little bump to make things every bit as wierd as Baker. Worth the price--share it with your friends!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ronald L. Russell on September 8, 2009
Format: DVD
This is one of those rare films which sometimes surprises you. You perhaps didn't hear about it much or at all when it was in theaters, and only months or years later stumble on it on DVD and wonder "what the heck is this about"?

The story is basically about an out of work actor John Person (Jon Favreau) who is hired by his creepy neighbor to deliver a blue suitcase (with very specific instructions to not open under any circumstances) to the desert town of Baker, California.

Deeply in debt, he accepts the job, but misses his appointment with his contact person, a trucker known only as "Cowboy". While waiting for Cowboy to return, Person meets some of the people who live in the desert town, who tell him about people vanishing in the desert, others being inexplicably found there, unusual things seen at night, aliens, and conspiracy theories.

At first intent on just delivering the suitcase and returning home, he finds himself slowly becoming tangled in a web of strange events that lead to his own ultimate showdown in the desert. Great performances by Joey Lauren Adams, Kelsey Grammer, Daryl Hannah, Sean Bean, and Rachel Leigh Cook as well.

"The Big Empty" is one of my favorite films, I've watched it numerous times, and each time seem to notice something new, some little clue which indicates that things aren't quite as they seem. The ending is a bit subject to interpretation, and different viewers may not agree on exactly WHAT happened, however it does end with an overall optimistic note.

People who enjoyed the classic "Twilight Zone" or more recent "X Files" series, or the movie "Repo Man" will probably enjoy "The Big Empty".
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