Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Choke is the kind of movie that has a real problem trying to figure out what kind of movie it really wants to be. It moves from sexual satire, to serious family drama, to mock-historical period piece, to quasi-psychological behavioral study. The movie seems so confused on what it wants to be that we the viewer are left… confused.

The film, about a sex addict named Victor who strives for attention from is dementia-afflicted mother, follows too many subplots. In addition to screwing whatever he can, Victor likes to force himself to choke in public places so he can… pick up on women… make people feel better about themselves? I don’t have a clue.

But don’t blame the talent. Sam Rockwell was our “hero” delivers his usual goods. He uses his brilliant wit to charm the hell out of us. Few people can play off something so ridiculous as being just another mellow thing. Although I wasn’t feeling the flow of the film, I followed Rockwell the whole way.

Choke is based on the novel by overhyped author Chuck Palahniuk. Palahniuk is a cult writer with a dedicated following, but his books have limited range. He often writes, with his defined style, about the same thing. His only decent book (and only movie adaptation) was “Fight Club”, which still had its faults.

The film is directed by talented actor and first time director Clark Gregg. Gregg is a remarkable actor with impeccable range, his guest appearance on The Shield a few years ago, as a remorseless serial rapist, was that series’ best episode. And while I won’t call his Choke a misfire, I believe his intentions were good, I think he could benefit from different material. C-

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