Take Out has a documentary-like authenticity reminiscent of the dramas of the Dardenne Brothers (Rossetta). It was filmed hand-held with a DV camera at a working restaurant during business hours and on the streets and doorsteps of Manhattan, using a mix of actors and non-actors.
Through a dozen orders at the counter and 15-20 deliveries in just 87 minutes of screen time, the filmmakers establish the ugly monotony of the business - the customers who come in to order typically are harassing, while those who phone in their orders are at best indifferent. However, the personal interactions among the restaurant staff provide the most entertaining and seemingly authentic elements of the film, especially those involving delivery-person Young (Jeng-Hau Yu) and register worker Big Sister (real restaurant employee Wang-Thye Lee).
After raising $650 from friends, the goal of earning the last $150 in tips keeps Ming working at a furious pace throughout the day, and it also sets up the darkest most clichéd encounter of the film late in the third act. Though most viewers will expect it long before it materializes, this scene still renders Take Out so bleak that the filmmakers felt compelled to hastily add a final heartening scene which pulls the film back from the darkness.
The 2.0 DD audio mix is acceptable with no notable dropouts or distortions. Optional English or Chinese subtitles are available for the mixed English and Mandarin audio track.