Rated NR

A charming, tiny movie about a man who is trying to save his evil, sociopathic, delusional mother from the indignity of low-rent health care, Choke can be seen as a parable for our times. Or as a sort of twisted paean to loserdom and its horrors, which, after the events on Wall Street, is also a paean to our times. Sam Rockwell is immersive as Victor Mancini, a small-time con-man with a big-time sex addiction. When he's not making love with a catholic indiscriminacy, he's pretending to choke on food so as to wring a few dollars out of the good Samaritans who Heimlich him back to health. There are a half-dozen other clever plot points (including, seriously, a second coming of Jesus by means of cloning His holy foreskin), but the cleverness is all in service of the comedy and the sadness. Special props to cinematographer Tim Orr, whose washed-out, unflattering and all-too-human close-ups make sex seem sad, sullen and hopeless, just like it is in real life.

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