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September 02, 2008


Choke In adapting Chuck Palahnuik's novel of sexual addiction, con artistry, and subjugated maturity screenwriter/director/actor Clark Gregg creates a fantastical brand of satire that is as engaging as it is diabolically ribald. If the film never gets around to paying off on its absurdist themes of debauchery and search for identity, it at least points in a direction of public liberation that is at direct odds with the outrageous level of surveillance Americans are subjected to. Sam Rockwell is positively devilish as medical school dropout Victor Mancini who works a day job at a Williamsburg-styled colonial theme park where the staff only converses in Olde English. At night, Victor chokes on his food in fancy restaurants in order to be Heimliched by rich patrons that he thenbilks to underwrite private care for his dementia-suffering mother Ida (well played by Angelica Huston). "Choke" is the most assertively anti-mainstream film of the year, and to that end it succeeds as a positive form of cinematic/social rebellion.

(Fox Searchlight Pictures) Rated R. 92 mins. (B)


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