Bringing a story like 'Choke' on screen is tricky business and really does require a competent director, like Clark Gregg who also wrote the screenplay and acted . I haven't read Palahniuk's novel but the humour and world in Gregg's 'Choke' feels very much like one that Palahniuk would create. 'Choke' is a dark comedy. It's hilarious but underneath the surface there are layers of darkness. The film also touches plenty of complex themes such as trauma, dementia, sexual addiction, emotional numbness, desire, love and redemption which are smoothly <more>
included within the story. Yet, it is above all a comedy and while the characters appear as hideous losers on the surface, we gradually get to like them. Sam Rockwell is terrific as the messed-up troubled Victor. Only Rockwell could play such a character so naturally. In addition, he is supported by a fantastic Angelica Huston, a quirky Kelly MacDonald and a chronically horny turned romantic Brad William Henke. There's a hilarious 'rape' sequence with Heather Burns. I never thought I would describe that word to describe rape but one just has to watch that scene to get what I mean. The film is packed in a tight 90 minutes but I wish it was longer as I found myself wanting more. 'Choke' is clearly not for everybody but it is certainly worthwhile for those interested in adult humour and psychology.
An amazing piece of cinema. Could I love Sam Rockwell and Angelica any more than I do now (by brianskeet)
What a tremendous piece of cinema.What wonderfully written and acted film, tender and moving it varying degrees of discomfort.In a world where people are doing head stands over warmed over America like "Revolutionary Road" this, truly, is a beautifully wrough examination of what it, truly, means to be an American.Rockwell - always my favorite of the contemporary actors is, absolutely, astonishing. Huston is exceptional Beautiful and tender and I just can't bring, myself, to think that there is any actress who could bring tears to my eyes, just by opening hers.Kelly Macdonald is <more>
wondrous, too, and so great to see her having something to do without being killed, off camera.What a terrific film. I love "Fight Club: but this movie rocks. It is a terrific piece of cinema, and one that lasts so amazingly in the mind.
What a great date movie! Choke has everything - drama, comedy, touching moments, big laughs, pathos, joy - if this doesn't win Best Picture this year at the Oscars there is no justice in the world.I can't imagine why it was rated R, as there's nothing objectionable here to speak of. I didn't notice any profanity, and while there was a little bit of nudity it was so tasteful and essential to the plot of the film that you should have no problems bringing your children or aged parents with you to see this.Some people object that the time-line jumps around too much, with multiple <more>
flashbacks going back to various time frames in the protagonist's life. I say it didn't jump around ENOUGH. The temporal jumps mirror the way real human minds and conversations work, and were so effective I don't think I'd want to see a film with a linear plot- or time-line again.Mostly what I loved about this film was how positive and life-affirming it is, and especially how wonderfully it portrays women in the film! Here's a film that NOW can really stand behind as an example of how women in cinema should be shown, not as objects for a man's pleasure, but as intelligent, emotionally complete beings who are equals with the men in the film.All in all, this is a perfect film that the entire family could enjoy. I wouldn't change a thing. They should start teaching the book in Jr. High as all young people could stand to learn from its message!
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 <more>
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
Yes, there were some things in this movie that were unsavory. And Yes, this is not a first date movie or a movie for the faint of heart. But this was the first complete film I have seen in a very long time. Every element comedy, love, sadness was robust and fulfilling. The acting was phenomenal, the passion of the artists behind this film glowed. I went with my girlfriend who knows a thing or two about anonymous programs, she has said on many occasions that films depicting these organizations are devoid of any truth or dignity for that matter. Walking out she looked at me and simply said <more>
"Imperfectly perfect." The movie is as the book is. A paradox, in so many ways. If you want something not funny but hilarious, go buy a ticket. If your not looking for a love story but some realistic interpretation of loves manifestation in everyday messed up life, then by all means see this movie. If you want to see a hero in a villain or a the good in bad then you would be more than satisfied with this film. Choke is, in my eyes, complete.
Why isn't Sam Rockwell a Movie Star? (by jean0519)
I've read a couple of Chuck Palahniuk's books, and they're dark, weird and unsettling. So is this movie, but it's also funny, outrageous, sacrilegious and a little pervy. So I really liked it.Victor is a sex addict who attends sex addict meetings to pick up girls Joel Grey plays one of the members with a sly twist on his usual impish character . He purposely chokes on food in restaurants in order to be "saved" by wealthy patrons who feel obligated to "help" him further by giving him cash. He needs the money to keep his mother Anjelica Huston in a mental <more>
hospital where she's being treated for the delusions that scarred his entire life.The movie is a labyrinthine journey toward discovering Victor's origins, then regression back through his tangled history. Sam Rockwell portrays Victor better than he's ever played any role before. He slips between arrogance, annoyance, gullibility, disbelief, desperation and humor seamlessly, and the performance is the pinnacle of his career thus far.Don't take the kids, but don't miss this movie.
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 <more>
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.
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 <more>
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 bookhow many actually arethis 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 Christbelieve 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?
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 <more>
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.