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Living Wake

The Living Wake

Director: Sol Tryon

Cast: Mike O'Connell, Jesse Eisenberg, Jim Gaffigan

A self-proclaimed artist and genius who has elevated his drab existence into a personal mythology organizes his final party, a living wake, in director Sol Tryon's absurdist black comedy. K. Roth Binew (Mike O'Connell) is about to live his last day. Abandoned by his father (Jim


A self-proclaimed artist and genius who has elevated his drab existence into a personal mythology organizes his final party, a living wake, in director Sol Tryon's absurdist black comedy. K. Roth Binew (Mike O'Connell) is about to live his last day. Abandoned by his father (Jim Gaffigan) as a young lad, Binew was raised by his nanny, Marla (Diane Kagan), and gradually grew to gain an appreciation for the arts. Though he would personally never complete a single work of art, he nevertheless considers himself an artist and has recently been told by his doctor that he will shortly expire of some mysterious, unnamed disease. Upon being informed of his dire situation, Binew boards his rickshaw and requests that his biographer and driver, Mills Joaquin (Jesse Eisenberg), transport him around town so that he may make his final arrangements. As the day wears on, Binew and Joaquin visit the local "liquirsmith" to procure spirits, arrange a Viking-style funeral for the eccentric "artist," and steal a goat for a personal picnic. Later, after Binew is attacked by his neighbor (Eddie Pepitone) and has his attempt to donate books at the local library refused, he hands out invitations to his final party. It is there that Binew will perform a short piece for his audience, and summarily drop dead on the spot.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Fans of John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces and the novels of John Irving (particularly The World According to Garp) will find a kindred mindset in director Sol Tryon's exceptionally quirky The Living Wake. But any friend of independent comedy should revel in the absurdities springing forth from the mind of co-writer/star Mike O'Connell, the symptom-free victim of a vague, grave, and punctual disease, who submits a tour de force interpretation of gonzo resignation, tempered by quavering fear. It's an understatement to say that K. Roth Binew (O'Connell) -- an almost-charming loudmouth, spawned from privilege but descended into madness -- is larger than life. Most grandiose portrayals fruitlessly strive for that condition, but O'Connell surpasses it, working in a style somewhere between mythic overacting and literate buffoonery, while occasionally penetrating through to bitterly touching. It's the kind of go-for-broke performance Jim Carrey might have given early in his career, but with more intellect and less mugging. O'Connell's work could carry this film through its winding path of final-day truth-seeking. But thanks to some nice details in a town that has slipped out of place and time, it doesn't have to. One of these is the perfectly cast Jesse Eisenberg as Binew's faithful manservant and rickshaw chauffeur, Mills Joaquin, tirelessly devoted while serving as the sounding board for Binew's dapper lunacy. Mills is the poetic counterpoint to Binew's comically bleak existence, and his presence at Binew's side elevates Binew above the level of mere pitiable boor. During the climactic wake sequence -- timed as a countdown to his final minute of life -- the earthy cathedral serves as a final reminder of the fertile imagination on display, responsible for this fairy tale of gothic eccentricity. The Living Wake is the kind of whimsical material from which cult classics are built, and it has a happy excess of bigness.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Breaking Glass
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

"The Re-Education of Mills Foquin," A Short Film; ; 4 Hilarious Deleted Scenes; "Musings with K. Roth Binew," 3 Viral Videos; ; Commentary with Cast & Commentary

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mike O'Connell K. Roth Binew,Passerby Man
Jesse Eisenberg Mills Joquin
Jim Gaffigan Lampert Binew
Ann Dowd Librarian
Eddie Pepitone Reginald
Jill Larson Alma Binew
Clay Allen Moustache Man
Ami Ankin Mother
Harlan Baker Dr. Schoenberg
Bryan Brown Frank
Rebecca Comerfield Gypsy Psychic
Matthew Cowles Mossman
Paul J. D'Amato Rutger
Ben Duhl Liquorsmith
Mark Shulte Actor
Matthew Dwyer Christian Man #1
Kurt Haas Clyde
Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine Prostitute
Stephen Brian Jones Farmer
Diane Kagan Marla
Patrick Keane Christian Man #2
Jun Kim Ling
Michael Mandel Landlord
Aaron J. Paton Old Man
Peter Paton Clock Maker
Stuart Rudin Waylon
Ron Lee Savin Karl Binew

Technical Credits
Sol Tryon Director,Producer
Negar Ali Costumes/Costume Designer
Ami Ankin Producer
Rob Bethge Executive Producer
Andy Cappuccino Executive Producer
Helen Cappuccino Executive Producer
Michael Cappuccino Associate Producer
Giancarlo Cavanesio Co-producer
Chadwick Clough Producer
Charlie Corwin Executive Producer
Elizabeth Destro Co-producer
Michael Grasley Production Designer
Blair Jaffer Makeup
Christopher Joy Asst. Director
Peter Kline Producer,Screenwriter
Joe Klotz Editor
Justin Leitstein Executive Producer
Carter Little Score Composer
Clara Markowicz Executive Producer
Scott Miller Cinematographer
John Moros Sound/Sound Designer
Mike O'Connell Score Composer,Producer,Screenwriter
Alex Orlovsky Associate Producer
Gabe Polsky Co-producer
Caroline Sinclair Casting
Anthony Viera Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Living Wake
2. March Of Dimes [6:03]
3. Reginald [4:38]
4. The Mortuary [5:25]
5. The Farmer [3:38]
6. The Picnic [9:01]
7. Hamsteaks [11:11]
8. The Psychic [7:46]
9. The Church [6:37]
10. The Shifty Mick [6:08]
11. The Wake Begins [5:55]
12. The Tent [11:22]
13. Dressed for Death [13:32]


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