Choke Reviews

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Super Reviewer
November 1, 2008
It was okay. Kind of played out like Californication as a movie - similar in theme with the sex addict lead character. I didn't really like him too much, the actor or the character. It was watchable in a dark way, but not something I would like to watch again, and I generally like dark/twisted themes.
The best thing for me was Kelly McDonald. I seem to have caught a few of her movies lately and I've been quite impressed with her. The flashbacks to his childhood with his mum, played by Angelica Huston, were also fun to watch.
RCCLBC
Super Reviewer
August 2, 2011
Felt like a great premise that got "watered down". Like it wanted to be darker, but for whatever reason never quite goes there. Which is sad, because I think it would have been a much better film, if it had.

Great performances from the cast with Anjelica Huston (who I love) really shining.
dietmountaindew
Super Reviewer
½ July 24, 2011
the title "choke" refers to a man who makes a living by disguising himself as choking victim. this man happens to be a sex addict. there's no surprise this kind of story is written by chuck palahniuk, who favors to utilize caricatured social outsiders to delineate the conceptualization of his philosophy of life. of course, none of those things he's written should be taken seriously because none of those characters of his are real to the extent that they're devoid of humanity. but who says they aren't fun even it's an apathetic kind of fun? because you cannot relate to any of those palahniuk characters even you ARE really a sex addict with a wacko-mother who steals you from the hospital as an infant then practically spends all her time drifting around the country and doing a series of fun-seeking sabotages. somehow you're soothed by such weird but creative dramatization of his writings while you still remain quite detached.

perhaps the only genuine emotion i feel or personally relate to is the void within those palahniuk characters who would do ANYTHING to invite others' attention and an artificial 10-minutes of love because their lives are so pathetically vacant in a world where they cannot find any substantial empathy. under the facade of those palahniuk characters is an angry teenager who imagines himself as sex-addicts, anarchist, psychopath, any member of those marginalized social groups, trying to barrow some of those real sorrows from the social outsiders to give their wounded sentiments a falsified meaning.

but why?

to give it a rough, dismissive answer would be they're people who are so bored and so spoilt that they need excuses to amuse themselves and live up a little. (quite true, maybe a bit insensitive and judgemental)...the other version of answer would be: his frivolous "style over substance" kind of writing is a substitution of sentimentalism. "fight club" (the book) was released in 1996, right? the nineties, the decade of slackers, who listened to nirvana and pearl jam. i suppose, people who lived through that decade as teenagers or young adults in their early 20s are inclinded to suffer from a mental obstacle which hinder themselves from appropriately expressing a simple sentiment, especially those who've been obssessed with an "it" attitude. it's like when you feel hurt, lonely, devastated, you don't know how to say that word directly, then you seek other ways to express it: smearing your face with bad makeup, dyeing your hair, cutting yourself or imagining yourself doing many of those forbidden crazy things. but all you crave is just love, compassion and any of those common things. the ending of "choke" and "fight club" is just the guy finally finds the woman who loves him and they hold hands together. they don't really give a damn about social stratifications, existentialist search of identity or meaning. what they want is just as mundane as everyone else: love and acceptance, and the release of sentiments. any form of anarchy or revolt is just a camouflage of an individual emotionally crippled from voicing out their sentiments. (simply, because it ain't cool.)

whether it's choke or fight club, chuck palahniuk writes common love stories with lots of imagined twists which have nothing to do with reality but slackers' attention-grappling wish-fulfillments.

(ps) i say i feel it because i could literally do anything to get the attention for those i have personally cared or liked or loved. just like throwing stones randomly into a pond to create some ripples or ANYTHING to repress the hurt of being emotionally abandoned by your friends or once-friends and to escape the feelings that those you still somehow care (not willing to admit it) don't really respond you. i try hard not to do it because...ok, IT AIN'T COOL. (ha, pathetic, i guess..and very emo, just like a needy teenager!)..a confession from a pseudo-slacker in 2010s.
Super Reviewer
½ March 28, 2011
Choke the film is like the book in many ways and not like the book in many ways. First off, It's a great book but not one of Chuck Palahniuk's best. It should in no way be compared to Fight Club as they are both very different films. I thought Sam Rockwell was very well cast as were the rest of the cast for the best part. The book is dark and so is the film but the comedy doesn't quite match the book, inevitably, the set up just isn't there. Still , that all said I though Clark Gregg did a great job in his directional debut, I've never thought much of his acting to be honest so maybe it should be a permanent move he should consider - before he gets totally lost in the Marvel world!
cosmo313
Super Reviewer
March 8, 2010
This is the second film based on a work by Chuck Palahniuk. Like Fight Club, this is a gleefully subversive and offbeat fllm that it twisted yet quite enjoyable. This might be a slightly more faithful adaptation, but it is not quite as memorable.

I enjoyed the book, but it is so far the least enjoyable of Palahniuk's books that I've read. I feel the same about the movie. It's good, but it's definitely not for all tastes. The performances are terrific. Everyone does a great job embodying their characters. Sam Rockwell is dynamite, but Anjelica Huston gets the top prize here. I also liked it that Brad William Henke (Denny) wears a Mastodon shirt in one scene.

If you want something that's a little gross, awkward, and off the beaten path, then this is the movie for you.
paul o.
Super Reviewer
½ January 6, 2011
As a fan of Sam Rockwell, I thought his acting could redeem this mediocre story of a sexual addict living his life of torture. With flimsy flashbacks and poor execution, Choke just made me nod and gave me a little choke after finishing it.
TheDudeLebowski65
Super Reviewer
August 13, 2010
Based on Chuck Palahniuk's novel of the same name, the film adaptation of Choke is a success. Though not as memorable as David Fincher's Fight Club (also based on a Palahniuk work), Choke is still a fine adaptation. Sam Rockwell brings Palahniuk's conman Victor Mancini to life, and he is amusing on screen. Brad William Henke as the chronic masterbating best friend of Victor, Denny is also great in his role. Though not as thought provoking as Chuck Palahniuk's incredible read, this film adaptation is a very good attempt at trying to capture Palahniuk eccentric work. This adaptation is crazy just like the book, but it's slightly toned down. I very much enjoyed the book and I very much enjoyed this film as well. If you Chuck Palahniuk, you'll most likely love this film. Just watch it with an open mind, most of the elements which made the book are here, but like I said, it's slightly different. The film is sad at times, but theres plenty of comedic elements here to make ita very funny film. This film would be a good comedy on it's own, even if it wasn't based on a Palahniuk novel.
Super Reviewer
½ November 30, 2009
A disappointing, undercooked idea about a sex addict (Sam Rockwell) who is caring for his mentally sick mother (Anjelica Huston) while trying to figure out more about his origins and what his life means. If this would've been directed by David Fincher, who adapted Chuck Palahniuk's "Fight Club" so skillfully, this might've been a good film. Sadly, it's not, despite four terrific performances (Rockwell, Henke, Huston, and Macdonald), it just feels so hollow and detached. It's labeled a "comedy", but despite one or two scenes where I laughed, there's really not that much that is funny. It's mostly just downright sad how morally depraved these people are, and I don't think that's all director Clark Gregg was aiming for.
Super Reviewer
½ September 27, 2008
OMG BEEN WAITING YEARS FOR THIS! Can't wait! one of my fave Palahniuk books ever. :]

Not as dark or twisted as the book, but a nice attempt altogether. Rockwell and Huston are perfect in here. Review TBC.
Super Reviewer
½ November 18, 2009
Original and funny. It's definately a certain kind of humor and not everyone will understand it or appreciate it, but I really loved it. Sam Rockwell did a really great job and really drove the movie. His character is so orrible, yet he still comes off as a real likeable character. The script was also really well written and contains all the wit and twisted humor of Palahnuik. My only big problem is that I wanted MORE. It seemed way too short. There was so much more they could've told, but I guess if they did it would have gotten an NC-17. Overall though, a must see for anyone who likes twisted and dry-wit humor.
Super Reviewer
½ October 28, 2009
As stupid as possible.
I canīt believe itīs written for the same person that wrote "Fight Club"!!


puffchunk
Super Reviewer
July 26, 2009
Pretty well written. Don't have much to say I guess.
Super Reviewer
May 30, 2009
Eh, this wasn't terrible or anything, but more often than not it felt phoned in and kind of flat. Sam Rockwell was definitely on sleepwalk mode here. The only standout in the cast was Anjelica Huston, but her character was also the most interesting and her opportunities for expression much stronger. It was refreshing to have a character on screen who had emotions and wasn't just a handful of disjointed psychological issues. Not that she wasn't, but she actually managed to follow through on them. I don't know.

I found this sort of dull overall. For a movie full of ~*~TABOO~*~ subject material, it doesn't exactly hit all that hard. If you're easily grossed-out yet openminded, you might get a kick out of it: it's less than 90 minutes and it wouldn't kill anyone to give it a shot. If things like obtrusive direction don't bother you, there might be room in your heart for Choke.
gor41
Super Reviewer
½ May 3, 2009
Uneven comedy drama with a quirky charm. Rockwell is perfectly cast in the lead and most of the humour works but Macdonald struggles to convince. Brave attempt.
deano
Super Reviewer
½ March 22, 2009
Sam Rockwell is brilliant, and would have to be one of the most versatile - and underappreciated - actors working today. He's a real chameleon, and can easily leapfrog around genres. He's played revolting villains, mysterious, slick charmers and even long-haired spaceman. In this comedy-drama, he's charming, funny and underappreciated young man who loves women, but puts them second to his mother.
Anjelica Huston is magnetic as Rockwell's ailing mother, both as a failing invalid or vibrant and deranged in flashback.
Super Reviewer
½ March 2, 2009
This movie was funny and sad at the same time. Interesting story and characters. Do enjoy!
Super Reviewer
February 22, 2009
I know that this is a movie review and not a book review, but I cannot help making some comparison with explanation.
When I read this book I was utterly enrapt. It was heart-stopping.
When I saw that they were making a movie adaptation I could not imagine how given the explicit nature of the book and the personality of our erstwhile protagonist. Nonetheless, I remained excited hearing about Sam Rockwell being cast as Victor. Great fit.
In watching the movie I must say, I was sorely disappointed. I felt as though Clark Gregg missed the point (and pointlessness) entirely. The back story was interesting, but a mish mosh thrown together rather than explanatory and our characters, while well-portrayed, lacked a certain quality. I would say, "substance," but that would be antithetical to the point of Victor to some extent.
I watched the interview with Gregg and Palahniuk which was an extra on the DVD. This explained some things. Palahniuk stated that there were only two scenes from the book that he wanted Gregg to keep and the rest he wanted Gregg to totally redo. He wanted to see something "new" and not what he had already written. In this, Gregg succeeded.
Unfortunate for the rest of us as it became a totally different story and frankly one that, while interesting, was forgettable.
This was not a bad film, but it was not great. I recommend it for those who have and have not read the book for two different reasons; To those of you who have read the book and loved it as I did, this movie will force you to go back and read it again rejoicing in all that it was.
For those new initiates I would say that this is an adventure into the realm of the uncomfortable dealing with "taboo" issues in an interesting way. The story is there, but you will be forced to go read the novel if you want the real flavor...and there is flavor to be had.
It is a win-win situation.
Enjoy it when you can and then come back and tell me how much you loved the book instead.
Namaste.
Super Reviewer
February 23, 2009
This movie had potential, but ultimately falls flat. It's not horrible, and it has some good moments, but it never really finds its stride and in the end, we're left with a sub-plot lovestory which is incongruous with the rest of the film.
Super Reviewer
February 21, 2009
Choke is an adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's novel about Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell) who works as a historical re-enactor to pay for his mothers (Angelica Huston)constant care payments. He is also a sex addict who goes to self help meeting with very little success. But probably the most peculiar thing Victor Mancini does is when he goes into restaurants and makes himself choke so that he can get close to the people who save him. At his mother's facility he meets a young doctor (Paige Marshall) who he sees as more than just a random sexual conquest.

Choke could almost be called a sex comedy if Victor was such a sad character. You get to see how his mother screwed him up so that he his the flawed adult that he is today. The film continually cuts to flashbacks that give you insight into why he's so messed up. The story, while intriguing at first, is a big letdown as the movie progresses. I never read the novel so I have no idea how faithful the film is to its source material, even though I can't imagine reading a novel that read like this movie. The acting is average with most characters being a long list of parodies from the movie stereotype handbook. The best friend, his girlfriend, the mother. The only really interesting character besides Victor is Dr. Marshall.

Overall I think I goty my hopes to high for Choke. It read like it was going to be a weird masterpiece but ended up being more sad than anything, but trying to be lighthearted all at the same time. Choke doesn't get the balance and fails. It's still and interesting film, just not a masterpiece. Unless a cult emerges (which is always possible) Choke will probably be forgotten in the next five years.
Super Reviewer
April 3, 2008
Victor: What time do you get off?
Paige: You don't have to do that.
Victor: What?
Paige: Try to have sex with me.
Victor: Oh yes, I really do.

A film adaptation of the novel by author Chuck Palahniuk, who also wrote Fight Club. Anyone familiar with Fight Club should at least have an idea of the type subject matter/characters that this film will deal with.

Victor: For sure, even the worst blow job is better than say, sniffing the best rose...watching the greatest sunset.

Sam Rockwell stars as Victor Mancini, a sex addict working at a colonial theme park as a historical interpreter. Victor dropped out of med-school in an effort to take care of his hospitalized mother Ida, played by Anjelica Houston, who is sick with dementia. The expenses of this have caused Victor to turn into a con man of sorts in an effort to cover the costs. By con man, I refer to Victor's scam of purposefully chocking on food in restaurants, causing a good Samaritan to save him and go on to send him money, due to their new found feelings of responsibility for his life.

Victor deals with his mother not remembering who he is, a nurse, played by Kelly McDonald, who offers her own various ideas to help out, his best friend, who is a chronic masturbater, and Victor's own dealings with his problems of achieving arousal with anyone but strangers.

The story also leaps back in time to Victor's young days with his mother, who, not being deemed fit to care for him, kidnapped Victor from foster parents to pull off scams of her own.

Paige: And this is where it kind of goes off the deep end.

A lot of the subject matter is dark just by description, but the film is very funny. It is dealt with in such a way that Victor is both a despicable person but also sympathetic in his own way. It also helps that the cast, especially Rockwell, who I always find to solid, fits very well into this film. I am a fan of Palahniuk's work and his style is definitely treated well and fitted in here.

Victor: All I had to do was answer one simple question: What would Jesus not do?

This movie is in fact even more faithful that Fight Club. The ending is tweaked a bit and of course all of the details cannot be pushed into a film like this, but the essence is there and it works well. Director Clark Gregg, who also adapted the screenplay and has a small role, is certainly fond of the material and did what he could to make this work as a film. He also went with choosing a number of good alternative tracks to fill the soundtrack.

There are some problems in bringing the film round in a full resolution (mostly due to the film's episodic structure), although I did enjoy the way it completed itself and the novel isn't perfect either. The film is still very enjoyable and wonderfully offbeat.

Victor: What I want is to be needed. What I need is to be indispensable to somebody. Who I need is somebody that will eat up all my free time, my ego, my attention. Somebody addicted to me. A mutual addiction.
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