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Fri September 19, 2008
By John DeSando, WCBE's It's Movie Time
"Sex is as important as eating or drinking and we ought to allow the one appetite to be satisfied with as little restraint or false modesty as the other." Marquis de Sade
I am told indiscriminate sex can lead to impotence when a true love surfaces, as if in retaliation or punishment for the anonymous, meaningless actions. Such seems to be the case in Choke, where young Victor (Sam Rockwell) has become a sex addict, for which his payment due is apparently his inability to become aroused by a woman, his mother's doctor at a nursing home, whom he may love.
Having recently been made aware of actor David Duchovny's alleged addiction, the audience should better able to grasp that such an affliction actually exists, and like others, is difficult to expunge. For Victor, a guide at a colonial tourist-trap town, the pain of finding out from his mother (Anjelica Houston) who his father is may just be the metaphor for Victor's loneliness. At the least the pain of failing to get an erection is just as grave.
The film doesn't so much resolve Victor's plight as it does make fun of a little anonymous sex and a whole lot of identity issues. So this occasionally funny film tries to tackle a big issue, over-indulgence, and succeeds in outlining the behavior that may lead to the addiction but never fully deconstructing it. The casual way the obsession is treated militates against a deeper understanding of its core and the ramifications (such as disease or psychic trauma).
"Sex. In America an obsession. In other parts of the world a fact." Marlene Dietrich
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's It's Movie Time, which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm and on demand anytime. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com