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Choose Connor (DVD Review)

6 Jan, 2009 By: Anne Sherber

Street 1/13/09
Box Office $0.006 million
$27.99 DVD
Not rated.
Stars Alex Linz, Steven Weber, Escher Holloway.

Owen, a shy and bookish 15-year-old boy, delivers the graduation speech at his junior high school and catches the eye of the district’s congressman. The pair share a moment after the festivities, and before long the congressman has asked the boy to be his youth spokesman for the senate campaign he is mounting.

Unfortunately, the boy discovers that in exchange for being at the center of an exciting political campaign, he is expected to keep his inconvenient opinions, observations and positions to himself. But he enjoys the attention and privilege that his new position provides and, for a time, he is willing to bite his tongue and toe the party line.

As his public profile grows, he develops a friendship with the congressman’s nephew, an eccentric young man who creates vaguely menacing marionettes, and who tries to warn Owen away from the political tornado that is beginning to swallow the boy.

Although Choose Connor suffers from a little cinematic schizophrenia, it is distinguished by a couple of very powerful performances. Steven Weber, playing against his good-guy persona honed for years on “Wings,” is the congressman — entitled, impervious and almost conscience-free. Even as his character slowly spins a seductive but ultimately dangerous web around Owen, he is not unlikable. And Alex Linz, as Owen, paints a very skillful portrait of a boy who is seduced by his own desire to be at the center of a political campaign even as he begins to realize what a dangerous game he is playing.

Choose Connor, which springs from the imagination of young writer-director Luke Eberl, vacillates between a biting political drama and a lurid tale of power, corruption and deviance, and might have been a more powerful piece if Eberl had chosen one path or the other.

But it is a very interesting first film from a provocative new voice who is worth watching as he develops and matures.

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