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Reviews & Ratings for
Choke More at IMDbPro »

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91 out of 127 people found the following review useful:

Consistently amusing low-budget treat

8/10
Author: Robert_90 from Australia
10 August 2008

As of writing, Choke has not yet been given official distribution, and will not get it for about another month and a half at least (depending on your location). However, I managed to see it at the annual local film festival. I'll bring this review up when the film gets a wider release, but for now here is my initial opinion.

Choke is the story of sex-addicted loser Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell). Victor's main concern in life is to keep his demented mother (Anjelica Huston) alive and in hospital. He does this in the hope of finding out the truth about his strangely absent father. To pay the bills, he pretends to choke on his dinner in fancy restaurants and plays off his saviour's heroism for financial gain.

I think the majority of readers here are at the very least aware of the existence of Fight Club, the only other major movie aside from Choke to be based off a Chuck Palahniuk novel. Most of the people who will seek out Choke will do it mainly because of the connection to either Fight Club or the Choke novel (or both, as the case may be). Of course, I'll have to play the comparison game here, but it has to be said - Choke is a very different beast to both its source novel and its spiritual predecessor, Fight Club.

Anyone who's read Palahniuk's writing will know that his books are frequently dark, very twisted and somewhat humorous. Words like "diseased" and "cancerous" come to mind. It's this same feeling that infected both the Fight Club and Choke novels and made them perverse joys to read. Palahniuk's touch even translated perfectly in David Fincher's adaptation. With Clark Gregg's adaptation of Choke, the stylish darkness is traded for a far more conventional "quasi-independent comic" approach. Strangely enough, this seems to suit Choke even better.

After all, Choke is first and foremost a comedy. At a guess, I'd say it's roughly 80 per cent faithful to the original novel (more on that later) with a large number of jokes lifted from the novel. The laugh factor was a strange thing. On one hand, the laughs managed to stay more or less consistent, with none of the jokes falling flat. On the other hand, I personally didn't feel like anything was too funny. Everything raised a genuine chuckle but as for anything approaching "struggling-to-breathe" humour, there wasn't much there. It makes me wonder what's better, a comedy with consistent chuckling or sporadic bursts of hilarious moments. Not too sure.

Regardless, the film manages to be an enjoyable experience. First-timer Gregg manages to handle his duties (which include writing, directing and even one very amusing bit part) with confidence, balancing comedy with drama effectively. The acting is impressive to say the least. Rockwell manages to nail Victor perfectly, yet it's Brad William Henke that manages to steal several scenes as Victor's friend Denny. Another treat is the score, which is an interesting blend of different styles.

Choke not only manages to be an entertaining comedy, it also becomes a very good example of how to streamline a 300-page novel into a movie that's just shy of the 90-minute mark. The only problem with it depends on whether or not your sense of humour agrees with the film's, but if this film was already on your "to-see" list, that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

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78 out of 112 people found the following review useful:

Good for a 90 minute film -- Better and fuller if it was 2 hours

7/10
Author: Michael Poloz from United States
3 September 2008

I had the opportunity to view the film Choke at Columbia College Chicago for a screening which held a Q&A with the main actor of the film, Sam Rockwell; so being that I read the novel before as well, I would like to share my take on the film.

No synopsis here; read the one that IMDb's.

If you have read the Palahniuk novel Choke, then you should expect that this 90 minute film cannot hold all of the sexual intensity (and comical vulgarity) that the novel had the space to provide for. Do not get me wrong--this film is very funny and Sam Rockwell is, as usual, superb in the anti-hero role that he's played so well in other films.

My one (and major) problem with the film is the fact that it was 90 minutes and wasn't pushed to be a 2 hour piece. I felt that there was so much more to delve into psychologically that Choke the novel did with sex addiction and the story and idea (will not spoil here) of who the character Victor Mancini was or thinks he is. Rockwell's great acting did a lot to pick up this slag, I do have to mention.

One thing I did like, which was also done with the ending of Fight Club (another Palahniuk novel) is that (again, will not spoil here) the finish to the Choke film was more satisfying then the deus ex machina endings that Palahniuk sometimes (well, many times) does with his stories.

Kelly Macdonald, who is wonderful in anything that she is in, as well as the other supporting actors and actresses kept the story alive and in a wonderful way.

The pacing of the film as well as the narrative was very much "Palahniuk" and this is a pace and narrative that is one of a kind and most interesting to view; which is aside from the usually predictable flow of the other films of today.

I did give this movie a 7/10 but I still believe that it is a movie that should be seen by anyone who likes to laugh, especially at things they don't think they would laugh at. Also, because the overall story is hilarious and is satisfyingly unique and the acting makes the film whole, too.

And did I mention Sam Rockwell was great?

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37 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

Not sure how to feel about it

6/10
Author: Wolf30x from Cincinnati, OH
1 October 2008

This movie left me in a strangely ambivalent state after I watched it, because I'm not sure if I'm judging it on its actual merits, or my expectations. Having been a fan of Chuck Palahniuk's novel, I was expecting something brash, frenetic and perfectly offensive, but in a good way. The problem is that while the novel was blunt and vulgar, spelling out every bit of Victor Mancini's sexual exploits in almost academic detail, the movie stops a bit short of pushing the edge and instead leaves a lot of it up to suggestion.

Another reason that I'm not sure how I felt about it is because the director took a unique approach to the work that I'm still trying to decide if I liked or not. You see, Chuck Palahniuk's novels have a very distinctive narrative style to them, and in Fight Club (also based on one of Chuck's books,) director David Fincher emulated it perfectly. I'm talking mostly about Chuck's usage of repetition with lines such as "I am Jack's colon," Choke's director, Clark Gregg chose not to emulate this and instead brought the text of the book to life without mimicking it's distinctive narrative. So if you're a fan of Chuck's work, this may bother you. On the other hand, it does help Choke stand out on its own merits and not feel like it's trying to build off of the success of Fight Club.

So for those of you who haven't read the book, how does it stand? Well as I said before, considering how much more graphic and indecent this movie's source material was, I think the movie missed out on a lot of its potential. I almost feel like Clark Gregg went too easy on all of the characters making them come off as sympathetic when they worked better as being completely hopeless. It's also not as funny as it could have been, since a lot of Victor's (the protagonist's) interactions with everybody from the sex addicts, to the people in the historic reenactment village to the people he pretends to choke for, were all summarized too much, and had much more potential for comedy. Overall i'd say this movie is alright, but could have been done better.

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38 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

Raunchly Amusing Dark Comedy

8/10
Author: J_Trex from Philadelphia
2 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The trailer for this movie looked promising, even though the reviews were mixed. I liked Sam Rockwell in 'Matchstick Men' and 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind', so I thought I'd take a chance & check this out.

The plot of the movie is Vic (Sam Rockwell) is a sexually obsessed colonial era theme park employee and part-time con man, who is supporting his invalid mother (Anjelica Houston), who resides in a nursing home, which costs $3000 per month.

The film is a series of vignettes, with the central themes being Vic's childhood, his mentally ill mom, his descent into sexual addiction, his relationship with his best friend Denny (excellently portrayed by Brad Henke) and his group therapy sessions with other sex addicts.

Vic re-counts his upbringing with his mom, which was chaotic, because his mom was basically nuts. Vince never knew his father, & much of the movie (when we aren't subjected to Vince's actual and imagined sexual encounters), is in trying to figure out who his father was. At one point, Vic was lead to believe his mom had been artificially inseminated with semen derived from the DNA of Jesus Christ. Needless to say, this generated a lot of funny bits.

At the nursing home where his mother lives, Vince befriends Dr. Paige Marshall (Kelly Macdonald), who also happens to be very close to Vince's mom. This is a key relationship in the film, & figures prominently in the film's conclusion. I won't spoil the ending further, but it was a good one.

This was a very good film, well written & acted.

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39 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

A movie a mature audience will enjoy

8/10
Author: Melissa from United States
8 February 2009

Chuck Palahniuk appeals to a younger audience? I thought this movie was very well written, very well acted and dark and disturbing. I will add this book to my must read.

I guess I'm a Sam Rockwell fan, and the reason I desperately wanted to watch this movie and it was only after watching it did I realize this was based on a book. The movie stands alone very well. I just can't stop thinking about it. I never believed Victor (Sam Rockwell) to be a disgusting human being, I saw him as flawed, horribly flawed, misunderstood, imperfect and what else can you expect when your mother was completely insane.

I thought Choke was a phenomenal movie, with amazing depth of character and insight about mental illness. Victor is a sex addict, so there is an awful lot of sex in the movie - if this bothers you, then do not bother. You will need an open mind to enjoy this movie.

The comments here on IMDb are extremely disappointing, so please do not bother reading them.

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25 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Chewed The Book, Swallow The Movie?

7/10
Author: Joseph Sylvers from United States
14 November 2008

The only Chuck P. book I own. It's a very funny book, about lust and salvation, and here it is on screen in...pretty good form. That is to say I was a little disappointed, with the ending in particular, which strikes a very different tone (not terrible, just different)....but that's neither here nor there.

Choke is the story of Victor, med-school dropout who takes care of his 70's radical mom now suffering from dementia and dying after years of drug use and mental instability. In order to pay for her upkeep, Victor pulls double duty at his two jobs, one as an employee at a Colonial American theme park, and two, choking on food in restaurant, so that those who save his life, will feel obligated to help him out with cash from time to time. Who would save someone's life, only to let them die, once you know their sad penniless (over exaggerated) story? Victor targets the wealthy and affluent, "You don't wanna get saved by some waiter", he says in one of many direct addresses to the audience. The broken 4th wall, reminiscent of Fight Club, is taken directly from the book, and one of the films stronger techniques.

In the hospital he meets, a young doctor, who assists him in translating his mother's diary, which leads to shocking questions about Victor's origins, and his father or lack there of.

Victor goes to sex addict meetings usually just to have sex in the bathroom with fellow addicts. While his best friend Denny, a chronic masturbator, begins taking his first shaky steps to recover, which involves romancing a Stripper and collecting rocks for each day his sobriety, "idle hands are the devils playground". The sex addiction and the need to save his mom, are the twin turbines that propel this film, and by the end they are both so clearly intertwined it escapes being exploitative.

I enjoyed this version of Choke, which was kinda of like Choke-Light, but still very funny, if only slightly missing the aim of the novel; the heady and vulgar mix of the sacred and the profane. That is to say, important sub-plots, and main-plot points get muted; we know why Victor chokes, there are more reasons than I stated above, but we don't get to see the people who fund his faints here, as we do in the book, and so that aspect of the story, seems a little disconnected. As do Denny and the rocks, another vital story element for me, got put on the back-burner here. Denny replaces one fetish with another, and most of the rooms of his house are filled with rocks.

(Actually they shot this ending, you can see pictures online, but decided against it, before release.) Okay, but everyone always says the book is better than the movie, I know, I know, I just had to get that out.

What's left of Choke though is commanded by Sam Rockwell, who is only improving as an actor, and Angelica Houston who needs no intro. While it's not as conceptually taught as I would have liked, its still really, really funny, and at a few moments, a bit moving (Ive got a personal soft spot for movies with visits to the demented in hospitals; The Savages is especially hard to watch), at least for me.

It's an allegorical sex comedy, but it's also a very accessible one, considering the weirdness of the material. It's a more personal story than "Fight Club", and almost an opposite ideology, "building anything", versus "tearing down everything", but told in the same sardonic writerly tone, weave come to expect from Palahniuk.

In the end, I just wanted more, but it was fun, and the story was brought to life, mostly just as I had imagined it when reading.

Also it's got the funniest and perhaps the only funny, "rape" scene, ever filmed (it is and it's not what it sounds like).

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47 out of 74 people found the following review useful:

Think Gilligan meets Groundhog's Day—in hell…Choke

8/10
Author: jaredmobarak from buffalo, ny, usa
19 September 2008

It took almost a decade for a second movie to come out from the literary source that is Chuck Palahniuk. David Fincher owned Fight Club, making it a cinematic wonder, enhancing the novel and becoming a wonderful companion to it. Rumors swirled afterwards about all his other stories being optioned for film translation, but after 9-11 halted Survivor's chances and Invisible Monsters' progress ended, it didn't seem good. But here comes 2008, with an unlikely savior in Clark Gregg, and all of a sudden we have Choke in cinematic glory to bring the author back into the spotlight. I love his books and all of them have a pop culture, post-modern feel showing sensibilities that can succeed on the big screen. Is Gregg the optimum choice to help the cause? Possibly not, but this is a very narrative driven story without the flash and flair of other novels, so his inexperience helming a film isn't overtly noticeable. While it is not as good as the book—how many actually are—this film keeps the tone and essence intact, bringing to life the words on the page. It's subtle and subversive and kept me entertained throughout.

Gregg has been in Hollywood for a while now, a familiar face to David Mamet fans, and for all you kiddies, an actor in Ironman. The role he gives himself here is a good one, the stickler boss of the colonial theme park that our leads are employed at. It's a thankless role and definitely the straightman of the ensemble; however, it is his directing that is really put on display. He doesn't try to go beyond his limits and I commend him for it. Single-handedly saving the world from possibly going Palahniuk adaptation-less forever, I have nothing but praise for the man. There are some camera tricks utilized, most obviously the quick cuts between our lead Victor Mancini's sex-addicted visions of every woman being naked to their fully clothed reality, but it's more or less a strict, linear narrative. I do have to mention the final shot, which carries on as the credits play, a long take of two leads making out. In extreme close-up, the highly personal nature of what is displayed leaves you somewhat uncomfortable due to the length, but also happy at the idea of these two partaking in the action. It's the boldest stroke Gregg makes and, being the last thing we see, the strongest most memorable moment for me.

It's all a comedy from start to finish, but one laced in good writing and subtlety. There are no real laugh-out-loud moments, except perhaps the revelation of a man being blind, just a consistent journey of sarcasm, heartfelt humor, and genuine witty banter. Victor, played perfectly by Sam Rockwell, really breathing life into the character as I envisioned him when reading the book, is a man that goes to restaurants and deliberately chokes so that some unsuspecting Good Samaritan can save him. These people now have a bond with him, feeling responsible for his life and in effect send him gifts and money whenever asked or on the anniversary of their fateful encounter. As one eyewitness's account says, her son was about to be divorced until his sense of bravery at saving Victor made his wife fall in love all over again. This kind of thing is a common trend with our lead; his uncanny ability to be devious and evil yet always have the outcome end up being generous and profound to those he is wronging. No wonder the guy becomes glued to the possibility he may be the second coming of Christ—believe me, it's actually a plot thread, and one that holds the film together.

Rockwell's manic overabundance of life becomes a whirlwind, sleeping with random women at every turn, hanging out with his masturbation-obsessed best friend (Brad William Henke who hopefully will start getting more work after this), angering his boss by using 20th century objects in a colonial environment, and visiting his mother, who is suffering from dementia, that believes he is her old deceased lawyers. Only Palahniuk's warped mind could come up with this stuff, let alone tie it all together into a coherent plot that is interesting to follow through to its conclusion. A burgeoning relationship with a young nurse at the home, (Kelly Macdonald trying to hide her Scottish accent for who knows what reason), adds some conflict and space for Victor to finally seek help for himself and begin step four of the sex-addict program. Having a lifetime of pain brought on by the one person he loved, Anjelica Huston as his mother, keeps him closed off to the world, making it strange for him when he finally finds someone he can open himself to.

There is so much going on, it'd be tough to talk about without either ruining the story or ruining the joke's setup. Choke is definitely not for everyone, the humor is probably too risqué for some and the subject matter too eccentric and modern for others. Palahniuk, who has a nice background cameo at the end, uses thinly veiled satire to bring us into his surreal interpretations of reality and be able to find ourselves living there. It is definitely one of his smallest scale novels, as far as craziness goes, but also one of his most accessible. For that reason, and because Gregg deftly adapted it with a respect to the source material, we have a resounding success. Hopefully allowing us to be brought back into his world of miscreants and fiends with a piece such as this will mean the more out-there stories will finally find their way to Hollywood. Scratch that. How about to a nice indie company that will do it right?

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38 out of 58 people found the following review useful:

Worth digesting slowly

9/10
Author: pyrocitor from Ontario, Canada
27 September 2008

Few authors have as instantly distinctive a style as Chuck Palahniuk: simply look for the most convoluted, scathingly hilarious, disturbingly filthy and twisted narratives which somehow prove revelatory of strikingly genuine nuggets of human nature, usually the ones we would rather keep hidden. Perhaps for this reason, with the exception of his enormous cult hit Fight Club, Palahniuk's work has seldom been adapted for the big screen, with movie executives likely preferring to work with plots which they can be sure their viewers will understand, and not result in heart attacks from either repulsion or outrage. As such, writer/director Clark Gregg's adaptation of Palahniuk's Choke is a daring move - after all, how often does one see the tale of a sardonic sex-addict playing on the sympathies of those who save him from choking to death in restaurants to pay for his mother's hospital bills gracing the marquees? And yet, as surprising as it may seem, for all of the caustically humorous overtones, at the heart of Choke lies a surprisingly tender and fascinatingly complex character study, brimming with humanity and pathos... and yes, loads of gratuitous sex on the side.

Those expecting more along the lines of Fight Club's nihilistic social commentary and brutal violence may find themselves disappointed, as Choke's sordid portrait of a man so used to mindlessly numbing his pain coming to terms with his flaws and potential for good almost by accident proves a far more sympathetic look, albeit one with graphic and perverse sexual content. That being said, writer/director Gregg's screenplay is a razor sharp medley of slashing Palahniuk wit and biting one-liners as well as surprisingly poignant character revelations, blending an increasingly eclectic myriad of events into an impressively concise (the film runs only 89 minutes) yet still cohesive storyline. If a flaw is to be found, it lies in the film's ending, which flirts which but mercifully avoids succumbing to convention and provides what may be one plot twist too many, making the finale somewhat unnecessarily cluttered (and yet strangely fitting) but in such an impressively unique work, such minute concerns are easily forgiven.

One of the film's many blessings is the casting of the supremely talented Sam Rockwell as Victor Mancini, the sort of lead role he is far too often deprived of. It is a testament to Rockwell's immense skill and charisma that he manages not only to sympathize a character who ultimately sets out to make himself dislikeable but also evokes both hilarity and pathos in the least likely places, delivering one of the most remarkable performances in recent memory. Similarly, Angelica Huston is incendiary as Mancini's mother (in flashbacks shown to be an even less stable parent before her dementia) and her interactions with her son prove surprisingly poignant and emotionally wrenching. The tremendously likable Brad William Henke raises many a laugh as Mancini's similarly sex-addicted best friend, and Kelly Macdonald gives a quirky but charming performance as the doctor who may, despite Mancini's best efforts, end up being a love interest. Director Gregg has a hilarious supporting role as the earnest head of Victor's collonial historical interpreter site, and Jonah Bobo proves a rising talent to watch as Victor's childhood self.

Darkly hilarious, sublimely subversive and yet hiding surprising pathos and heart, Choke proves one of the most offbeat films of the year, and is all the more entertaining for it. While the film is without question not for everyone, those willing to stomach the acerbic and often disturbing humour and hefty sexual content may discover one of the most darkly enjoyable movie experiences of quite some time.

-9/10

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29 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Not perfect, but Rockwell shines in this fairly well adapted raunchy tale

7/10
Author: DonFishies from Canada
26 September 2008

Choke tells the story of Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell), a sex addict working in a colonial times reproduction. His mother, Ida (Anjelica Huston), suffers from dementia, and spends most of her time thinking Victor is someone else (mainly long dead lawyers) during his frequent visits to the hospital. To pay the bills, Mancini has a bit of a unique talent: he chokes on food in swanky restaurants, and practically forces innocent bystanders into saving him from death.

I read the book Choke a few years ago, thinking it would be same in vain to writer Chuck Palahniuk's near flawless Fight Club (and of course, David Fincher's incredible film). But Choke was nothing like it, and anyone going to see the film thinking it will be is in for a disappointment.

But like Fight Club before it, Choke is adapted quite well from its raunchy source material. The story is quite liberally changed in some instances, but in others, it is an almost literal recreation. Mancini is a well-rounded character, with bizarrely comic traits that are pure Palahniuk. I found myself almost crying from laughing so hard at the comic mishappenings he got himself into, frequently calling back to the events in the book. It was strange however that so little an amount of time is spent on the choking that Mancini has down practically to an art form, but then its off-the-rails, frank portrayal of sex was always much stronger. First-time director Clark Gregg does an excellent job making this character so true to Palahniuk's work that you can forgive him for glossing off something so integral to the plot (but at least it makes for a whole lot less convoluted, confusing and downright silly third act). Gregg's addition of the little idiosyncrasies of Mancini's lifestyle (small cuts to previous sexual encounters, frequent breast-filled day dreams) only further strengthens how close the film cuts to its source material.

But despite being 92 minutes long, I think Gregg could have done with a touch more editing. The film is not lengthy at all (many sequences practically zip by in the hyper-kinetic sense of Fight Club before it), but the film feels quite long in some instances. Despite their importance to the story, the flashback sequences involving a much younger looking Huston and young Victor (playing by Jonah Bobo) drag on endlessly, nearly losing their train of thought mid-scene. Some of the scenes between Mancini and Ida's doctor, Paige Marshall (Kelly Macdonald), also have a habit of dragging their heels. Some cuts here and there in these scenes could have only benefited the film. As well, Gregg's doing away with the third act leaves some subplots hanging in the balance, never to fully integrate themselves with the film as a whole. Non-readers may not even notice some of them (including one glaring omission), but it may strike those who have read it as quite odd.

The supporting cast is pretty well rounded. Macdonald does a great job in her scenes, as do Bijou Phillips in a small role as one of Mancini's co-workers, and Gregg himself as the lead character in the colonial times reproduction. I had failed to realize it was him when watching the film, but he brings a special greatness to every one of his character's lines.

I was a little disappointed however in Brad William Henke's portrayal of Mancini's friend Denny however. Not because Henke does a bad job in the role, but because he does not get nearly enough time on screen. He steals many of his scenes, and seems to know just how to frame Denny, frequently shifting from the downtrodden weakling of a sidekick, to the strong willed individual Mancini wishes he could be. Henke is having fun in the goofy role, and it is obvious that he is very comfortable doing it. He does not have a whole lot of credits on his filmography, but I can only help this role makes him a lot more accessible in Hollywood. More scenes could have only reinforced the notion.

Huston, looking much older than usual for the majority of the film, is excellent in her portrayal of Ida. She does not look to be doing much, but the emotions she conveys simply through her facial movements and expressions is enough to suggest that she is doing more than simply phoning in her performance. The role may not seem too tough, but she pulls it off without breaking a sweat. Despite disliking the flashback scenes, they only further developed her character into the closet psycho she is so great at playing.

But the movie rests on Rockwell's shoulders, and he is clearly up to the task. The breath of life he gives Victor Mancini is almost poetic in how personal it looks and sounds. No, he does not give the same energy that Brad Pitt does as Tyler Durdan, but this does not seem to bother Rockwell in the least. He plays Mancini just the way he needs to in order to make him a believable regular guy, suffering from addiction problems and his need to please his overbearing mother even as she is slowly withering away. You can see the pain in his face right from minute one, and never once does he let us take this idealism for granted. He uses it and characterizes Mancini with a great breadth of thought not regularly seen in contemporary American cinema.

While it is not perfect at all, Choke is a wonderfully valiant attempt at recapturing the nearly demented nature of a Palahniuk book. His unique voice is captured quite fluidly within the film, and writer/director Gregg can be quite proud of his work here. With the help of a great supporting cast, Rockwell practically lights up the screen in a way that only further proves his greatness as an actor.

7/10.

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23 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Choke Movie Review from The Massie Twins

8/10
Author: GoneWithTheTwins from www.GoneWithTheTwins.com
25 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An extreme exploration of sexual deviancy, compulsions and abnormalities, Choke is thought-provoking and challenging. It dwells on oddities to make the story unpredictable and spontaneous, instead of presenting eccentricities just for the sake of being weird. This darkly humorous work features outstanding performances by its clever cast, as well as some of the most perversely shocking and hilariously vulgar explanations of self destruction and redemption.

To pay for an expensive hospital room for his mother, who can no longer even recognize her own son, Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell) frequently pretends to choke during meals at expensive restaurants. Planning to be saved by the wealthiest patrons, he then parasitically feeds on their heroism and sympathies for the life they've saved. Conning his rescuers through letters and updates on his life (renewing the "savior experience" as he calls it), he continually receives money to use for his mother.

While not pulling his scam, Victor works at a Colonial Williamsburg theme park (imagine the Renaissance Festival) where he portrays the backbone of America - an Irish indentured servant. Along with his best friend Denny (Brad William Henke) he also finds time to cruise sexual addiction recovery meetings looking for quick action. But when his mother Ida (Angelica Huston) slips deeper into derangement, he seeks out murky truths about his childhood with the help of the mysterious Dr. Paige Marshall (Kelly MacDonald).

As Victor narrates his piteous existence, he's on a fast track to being the most unordinary of misfits; and yet he ends up being our antihero and the least of the insane. In the world of Choke, even the nuns are scum. Although a med-school dropout, a man with few morals and an insatiable lust for meaningless sex, Victor still manages to be a character to hail. Well-placed flashbacks give us insight on his unfavorably anomalistic childhood, as well as the purity and innocence that once existed in our now corrupted paladin.

The narcissism and peculiarities of the characters in Choke account for its uniqueness and its dark, vulgar humor. Although its target audience might be slim, the success of Palahniuk's only other theatrically adapted story Fight Club might boost interests in this original and highly entertaining film. The similarities between the two are limited, aside from the quirky dialogue, deviant subject matter and the frequenting of rehabilitation workshops, but the idea that the most twisted minds can eventually produce sound satisfaction is a testament to these often morbid plot lines.

- Mike Massie

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