Rated 3.0

Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell) is a fatherless, sex-addicted med-school dropout and historical re-enactor who solicits bankable pity from upscale restaurant diners by pretending to let them rescue him from choking. He uses that pity money to keep his demented mother (Anjelica Huston) cared for in a Catholic nursing home, whose staff Victor beds, or wants to, and whose patients’ own confused traumatic memories he indulges. Who but the affectedly depraved comedic novelist Chuck Palahniuk could have made this stuff up? When director David Fincher made a film and a sensation of his novel Fight Club in 1999, Palahniuk just about became a household name, albeit not an easy one to pronounce; Choke, adapted by actor Clark Gregg in his directorial debut, lacks Fincher’s slickly overwrought style but gets Palahniuk’s silly plot turns and pet themes—particularly that memory and imagination, especially where trauma is concerned, are subjective and selective. Appealing performances and a foreskin-of-Jesus joke go further than expected.