'Choke': Against the Mainstream

Maui Time | September 11, 2008

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 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 is made to speak only olde English to one another. At night, Victor chokes on his food in fancy restaurants in order to be Heimliched by rich patrons he then bilks in order to pay for his dementia-suffering mother Ida (well played by Angelica Huston) to stay in an expensive private care facility. 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)


Maui Time

Maui Time Weekly provides insightful analysis and in depth reporting. We believe some issues are so important they require thoughtful consideration. We are not a “paper of record”—a daily journal of government meetings, ribbon-cuttings and corporate announcements. We decide what’s...
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