Many fans of author Chuck Palahniuk have looked forward to the release of his second novel gone big screen with Clark Gregg's adaptation of 'Choke'. I need not mention the first adaptation of a Palahniuk original, 1999's glorious masterpiece 'Fight Club'. Don't worry, I'm not going to compare the two, Fight Club did bring the clout of Hollywood heavyweights David Fincher, Brad Pitt, and Edward Norton, just to name a few. Choke on the other hand is the directorial debut of moderately seasoned actor Clark Gregg. Does the picture measure up? Lets take a look.
'Choke' is about the life of sex addict Victor Mancini as he comes to terms with his addiction, explores more deeply into his relationship with his mother, asks the very serious life question of "who am I", and of course works as a faux-18th century Irish indentured servant tour guide (I mean historical interpreter) at a historical colonial village. Throw into the mix a strange habit of choking himself with restaurant food in public with hopes that an unsuspecting hero will save him, thus causing a life long "big brother" bond with his newfound hero that pays off in periodic sympathy letters filled with cash.
I won't get too deep into the finer points of the plot. Choke is not your typical dark comedy. While it delves into subject matter that could very well be depicted as dark and depressing such as child abandonment, addiction, and the likes, 'Choke' surprisingly has almost a romantic comedy feel to it. This, of course, was very much the intent of the filmmaker. When interviewed at Sundance, Clark Gregg expressed that his intention was to take a light hearted approach to these sullen issues. Author Chuck Palahniuk was very much in agreeance with Gregg's outlook on the project. When asked, he said that this, and most, of his stories are works of a "romantic quest" theme rather than a "dark comedy" genre.
Obviously, this aint no "You've Got Mail". As expected, there are plenty of boobies and sex for all. Also as expected, Sam Rockwell carries this film through a very entertaining hour and a half. His opening narrative in the first several minutes of the show describing the life of a sex addict is bloody brilliant. This film is a gold mine of one liners that will be repeated among men everywhere for a long time to come.
Weak scores in the sound department and HORRIBLE marks in the editing department (you'll see what I mean when you see how they pieced all the annoying flashback sequences together) are more than made up in the 'laugh your ass off' sectors of the film. Also serving a notable performance in the film was Angelica Huston who played Victor's mother suffering from Alzheimer’s. Her rather messed up character in 'Choke' is right up there with her performance as Etheline Tenenbaum in Wes Anderson's classic "The Royal Tenenbaums".
My Verdict, go see it. NOW.
The Dude Abides