I navigated my way to FilmJabber today and a realization swept over me: I hadn't written a review for Choke yet. How could I have not written a review for a movie I saw over two weeks ago? Oh yeah... I went to Mexico the next morning and then proceeded to get miserably sick for the subsequent week. Silly me.
Choke, the latest movie based on the insane work of Chuck Palahniuk ("Fight Club"), is about a sex addict who falls in love with his mother's doctor, but realizes he has to come to terms with his own existence before being able to do the dirty deed with her. Sam Rockwell stars as the main character, Victor, who works at a colonial reenactment camp and who visits his dementia-stricken mother (Angelica Huston) as everyone but himself so that she'll talk with him. Kelly Macdonald (No Country for Old Men) stars as the odd doctor who takes a liking to him.
Those looking for the mastery of Fight Club may be disappointed, as David Fincher is "replaced" by actor and first-time director Clark Gregg (he played the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in Iron Man), the screenwriter also by Gregg, and Brad Pitt and Edward Norton by Rockwell. Rockwell is an underrated actor, but he still isn't either of those two men. Of course, none of those comparisons aren't fair, because the problem isn't Rockwell or Gregg; Choke just isn't Fight Club. It is a smaller story, a comedy, and has nothing to do with split personalities or terrorism or action or making soap. Nevertheless, Choke, by default, raised some odd expectations among filmgoers that will have to be undone before one is able to completely enjoy the picture.
On its own, Choke is pretty good. Pretty good. It has some hilarious moments, and it has some slow moments. Rockwell is great in the lead, and along with the supporting cast embraces the screenplay by Gregg. He makes a likable yet twisted lead who is somehow able to make us feel for him despite his disposition as a complete and utter asshole. Nevertheless, the screenplay, while good, is not great; for whatever reason, there are segments that miss the mark or feel unfinished. The movie feels overly long at times, even though its entire running time is only 89 minutes.
Choke is not without its flaws, but it's an entertaining and disturbing film nonetheless. Recommended to those who liked twisted comedies.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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