Movie of the Day – Choke

I love Chuck Palahniuk books, so when they decide to make a movie based on one of his book, I am intrigued.  I love Sam Rockwell and when they cast him a lead role in a movie, I am going to watch.  Combining the two into a film immediately means I am going to see it.  If you haven’t read any Palahniuk books before, they have a certain satiric bite to them.  Very dark comedy interspersed between these satiric looks on current society.  They are fascinating reads and some of my favorite books.  Choke, which movie is based on, is one of my favorite novels next to Invisible Monsters and Fight Club.  The subject matter is dark in terms of what happens to the characters and how they interact with one another.  It is a series of maladies and lies that plagues characters and it makes for interesting dark comedy situations.  More fucked up observational humor and weirdness plague the book.  So to take a book like Choke which is filled with sexual deviance and childhood trauma and make movie out of it might seem a bit difficult, but like all of Palahniuks works, there is this beautiful madness to be found in the work and the translation to film.

Choke follows the story of Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell) who works at a Colonial America re-enactment camp and has to help support is ailing mother (Anjelica Houston) by faking to choke and having people give him money for his troubles.  Victor tends to his mother one day in the hospital where he mets Paige Marshall (Kelly Macdonald) who is the nurse for his mother and informs him that her condition has worsen.  Paige informs Victor that there is an experiment involving stem cells from an umbilical cord of a newborn baby, so she gets Victor to try and get her pregnant.  In the midst of all this baby making and trying to save his mother, Victor never knew about his father and tries to get his mother to talk about his father, but instead finds a diary that details all about his life.  From here things go all the way downhill as Victor realizes certain truths about Paige, his mother and about himself that lead to a destructive nature.

Now I am not wanting to give away the movie or books ending as it just gets ridiculous in terms of self destruction.  I recommend reading the book first as the movie just kind of loses the edge that the book had.  Don’t get me wrong in that the movie is bad, but the book just has the ability to layout more of the actions of Victor and the descriptions of fake choking attacks are brilliant to read.  The movie has a lot of acting chops and Sam Rockwell once again proves that he is an incredible actor and leading man.  I think the adaptation of it was a bit off, but Rockwell does make up the shortcomings of the movie and is a perfect Victor Mancini.

I think what makes the book and movie interesting is how the subject is represented.  The book covers a lot of different issues from childhood trauma, the age of loveless relationship and sex, personal connections with strangers, and addiction.  The book covers a lot of ground in terms of character development and that might be the films short comings.  They try and cram what they can into the movie in terms of character development and it feels a bit lost sometimes.  But I think the overall message, whatever it is, still plays an important part in the book about this destructive behavior we all have and how it affects us and those around us.  Whether our sexual compulsions lead to a loveless life and casual encounters or the lack of solid fundamental communications lead us to manipulate those around us (the fake choking) to get people to care. These are my interpretations so you can draw your own conclusions.

As a follow up to Fight Club, in terms of making Palahniuk books to movies, this one fell a bit flat.  I still chose this movie as it is enjoyable, even with the fucked up nature of the material and Sam Rockwell alone is worth watching it.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

One Response to Movie of the Day – Choke

  1. Frank Bishop says:

    I was surprised at how good this movie actually was. It had a good ending and left me smiling. Either that shows how twisted I am or maybe there is an underlining truth in the movie.

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