It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Here is a movie about a man with a very particular personality, who finds himself sharing his hermit-like existence with another man who has no particular personality at all. They don't even speak the same language. "Chinese Take-Away" becomes a bemused study about how they infiltrate each other's lives. It is a consideration of the life of loneliness for those who choose it and those who have it forced upon them.
Roberto is the grouchy owner of a small hardware store in Buenos Aires. So small that he is the only employee and would have it no other way. He considers most people fools and idiots, counts the screws in a box of 500 to see if he is being cheated and has been known to order a customer out of the store for having the temerity to request a few grams of nails. He lives in an apartment connected to the store, prepares his own meals and dines alone while scanning newspapers for stories confirming his belief that life has no meaning.
One day a taxi squeals to a halt, and the driver throws out his passenger, a young Chinese man. Roberto is offended. This confirms his belief that all taxi drivers are jerks. The young man speaks no Spanish but expresses himself in a torrent of anguished Mandarin. He has an address written on his arm. Roberto gives him a lift to that address, but the current tenant says she bought the house a few years ago from a Chinese man. She has no forwarding address.
That is the most Roberto can be expected to do, and he leaves the young man at a bus stop to find his own way. He goes home, a downpour begins, and he cannot help himself but must drive out to the bus stop, pick up the stranger and bring him home. This is already an unthinkable breach of his habits.