Choke : Movie Review

Choke is the second film adaptation of a Chuck Palahniuk novel the first, of course, being Fight Club and because of this it’s difficult not to compare and contract the two films. There are so many similarities such as the central character’s dependence upon support groups and his obsession with sex.

Choke stars Sam Rockwell as Victor Mancini a medical school drop-out, turned sex addict, con man, who works as a resident actor / tour guide at a 17th-century colonial village theme park. His best friend Denny (Brad William Henke) who also suffers from a sexual affliction (he’s a compulsive masturbator) attend a Sex Addicts Anonymous support group together, where Denny tries to reform and Victor picks up women who have fallen off the wagon.

Choke (2008) - Movie PosterVictor’s mother (Anjelica Huston) is living in an expensive care home for deranged geriatrics and Victor has to find ways of paying the bills. He pretends to choke in restaurants. He thinks that the person that saves him will feel connected to him in some way and that he can play on their sympathy and ask them to give him money which they do.
There are several strands to the film and no doubt in the book they are explored in greater detail. The film itself lacks a little depth and could have used more explanation of certain points. The main themes that stood out were the relationship between Victor and his mother and the relationship that Victor has with his mother’s Doctor, Paige (Kelly Macdonald).

Rockwell, as always, produces a strong performance and his presence on screen is impressive. He is ably supported by Henke and McDonald and of course, Huston.

The direction from actor-turned-first-time-director and screenwriter Clark Gregg (who also appears in a few scenes as Charlie) is not as tight or as skilled as that of David Fincher’s Fight Club but perhaps in this sense at least it’s unfair to compare the two films. Indeed Choke, much like Fight Club, is full of dark humour and for this it is commended. It is a funny exploration of love in many forms. It’s not got the same depth of character or the same complexity of plot as Fight Club but Choke will still entertain and intrigue.

Rating :4/5

Author : Kevin Stanley