Choke (2008) Poster

Choke (2008)

  • Rate: 6.6/10 total 19,251 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama
  • Release Date: 30 October 2008 (Australia)
  • Runtime: 92 min
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Choke (2008)


Choke 2008tt1024715.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Choke (2008)
  • Rate: 6.6/10 total 19,251 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama
  • Release Date: 30 October 2008 (Australia)
  • Runtime: 92 min
  • Filming Location: Essex County Hospital Center – 204 Grove Avenue, Cedar Grove, New Jersey, USA
  • Budget: $3,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $2,926,565(USA)(23 November 2008)
  • Director: Clark Gregg
  • Stars: Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston and Kelly Macdonald
  • Original Music By: Nathan Larson   
  • Soundtrack: Sin Terror
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Hospital | Scam | Choking | Restaurant | Theme Park

Writing Credits By:

  • Clark Gregg (screenplay)
  • Chuck Palahniuk (novel)

Known Trivia

  • Shot in three weeks.
  • The movie was finished 3 days before its screening at Sundance.
  • In the scene where Victor choked with a piece of meat, Sam Rockwell was actually eating watermelon with sauce.
  • In the DVD commentary, director Clark Gregg said he offered the role of the naked woman at the bathroom plane who caused Victor’s addiction to his wife Jennifer Grey. She replied with: “Are you out of your mind?”
  • Director Michelangelo Antonioni, a close friend of Anjelica Huston’s, died during shooting, so in the scene where Huston’s character is so sad and absent-minded that she can’t speak, Huston didn’t have to act much.

Goofs: Continuity: In the scene where Victor played the rapist to a woman's fantasy of rape. In the first angle, the frustrated woman grabbed Victor's hand, which was holding the knife, so that it would be placed at her neck, then proceeded to use the vibrator on herself. Then when Victor says, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, what about me?" the angle changed and focused on the woman, in which Victor's hand and the knife weren't anywhere to be seen. In the next shot, Victor had his hand and knife at her neck again.

Plot: A sex-addicted con-man pays for his mother's hospital bills by playing on the sympathies of those who rescue him from choking to death. Full summary »  »

Story: Sex addict and colonial theme park worker, Victor Mancini, has devised a complicated scam to pay for his mom's hospital bills while she suffers from an Alzheimer's disease that hides the truth about his childhood. He pretends to choke on food in a restaurant and the person who "saves" him will feel responsible for Victor for the rest of their lives.Written by Anonymous  


Synopsis: Victor Mancini (Rockwell) is a sex addict who works as a reenactor of life in Colonial America. He works with his best friend, Denny (Brad William Henke), who is also a reformed sex addict. To support his hospitalized mother (Huston), Victor cons others by intentionally choking at restaurants to get money from his rescuers.

When he visits his mother one day he meets Paige Marshall (Kelly Macdonald) taking care of her. She tells Victor that his mother’s condition is worsening and that they could try an experimental stem cell technique but for it to work it would require harvesting cells from the umbilical cord of a new born baby with Victor’s genes. She convinces Victor to have sex with her so she can have his child and save his mother.

Victor never knew his father and is anxious to obtain the information from his mother but she never recognises him when he visits and so he asks Denny to pose as him and ask her questions. Denny agrees and reveals that Victor’s mother kept a diary. Victor finds it, but it is in Italian. Paige tells Victor she can read Italian and agrees to translate the diary.

Victor and Paige try several times to have sex but Victor cannot maintain an erection and after discussing it with Denny he realizes he loves Paige, Paige reveals to him that his mother may have fled Italy because she stole Jesus’ foreskin, and use cells to conceive Victor, making him the second coming. He is reluctant to believe but in the end believes Paige. However his mother finally recognizes him and tells him that she stole him as a baby and she has no idea who his real parents are, as she tells him this he feeds her chocolate pudding and accidentally chokes her. She dies.

While Paige is trying to resuscitate Victor’s mother, a hidden band around her wrist falls into Victor’s view, revealing that she is actually a patient in the hospital, not a doctor. Paige then reveals that she was admitted to the hospital years ago, in a catatonic state, and fell in love with Victor through the stories his mother told her about him. As a former medical student, the nurses allowed her to wear a white coat, as it calmed her down. Paige was a voluntary patient and she checks herself out without saying goodbye to Victor.

After his mother’s funeral Victor is on a plane, he goes to the bathroom and the door opens to reveal Paige joining him in the bathroom.


FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Johnathan Dorfman known as producer
  • Temple Fennell known as producer
  • Beau Flynn known as producer
  • Mia Lee known as associate producer
  • Laurie May known as associate producer
  • Mike S. Ryan known as executive producer
  • Derrick Tseng known as executive producer
  • Gary Ventimiglia known as executive producer
  • Mary Vernieu known as executive producer
  • Tripp Vinson known as producer
  • Lisa Zambri known as associate producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Kathryn Alexander known as Mousy Girl / Agnes
  • Teodorina Bello known as Jamaican Lady
  • Kate Blumberg known as Edwin's Wife
  • Jonah Bobo known as Young Victor
  • Willi Burke known as Deranged Socialite (as Wilma 'Willi' Burke)
  • Heather Burns known as Internet Date / Gwen
  • David Fonteno known as Edwin
  • Matt Gerald known as Detective Ryan
  • Clark Gregg known as Lord High Charlie
  • Joel Grey known as Phil
  • Viola Harris known as Eva Muller
  • Brad William Henke known as Denny
  • Paz de la Huerta known as Nico (as Paz De La Huerta)
  • Michelle Hurst known as Shapely Nurse
  • Anjelica Huston known as Ida J. Mancini
  • Gillian Jacobs known as Cherry Daiquiri / Beth
  • Jen Jones known as Old Lady with Note
  • Jordan Lage known as Mob Member #1
  • Kelly Macdonald known as Paige Marshall
  • Matt Malloy known as Detective Foushee
  • Mary B. McCann known as Detective Dorfman (as Mary Mccann)
  • Alice Barrett known as Lanky Woman on Airplane (as Alice Barrett Mitchell)
  • Marty Murphy known as Second Trooper (as Martin Murphy)
  • Neil Pepe known as Zoo Security Guard
  • Bijou Phillips known as Ursula
  • Peggy Pope known as Sister Angela
  • Denise Raimi known as Pretty Foster Mom
  • Donald Rizzo known as Guard Captain Norm
  • Judith Roberts known as Elegant Lady (as Judith Anna Roberts)
  • Sam Rockwell known as Victor Mancini
  • Yolonda Ross known as Cute Teacher
  • Mike S. Ryan known as Lonnie (as Michael S. Ryan)
  • Solo Scott known as Mob Member #2
  • Suzanne Shepherd known as Waitress
  • David Shumbris known as First Trooper
  • Sebastian Sozzi known as Tito
  • Kate Udall known as Tall Nurse
  • Melinda Wade known as Mob Leader
  • Isiah Whitlock Jr. known as Detective Palmer
  • Gregory Mikell known as African Waiter
  • Fast Ali known as Girl in closet (uncredited)
  • Joseph Basile known as Blacksmith (uncredited)
  • Allison Karman known as Filthy Wench (uncredited)
  • Tiffany Rae Larkin known as Tall Nurse (uncredited)
  • Chuck Palahniuk known as Passenger (uncredited)
  • Paul Thornton known as Restaurant Patron (uncredited)
  • Erin Anne Williams known as Colonial Villager (uncredited)



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Cyndie Boehm known as assistant makeup artist
  • Christine Fennell known as key hair stylist
  • Charles McKenna known as assistant hair stylist (as Charles Mckenna)
  • Stacey Panepinto known as key makeup artist

Art Department:

  • Justin Bennett known as set dresser
  • Naomi Bombardi-Wilson known as art production assistant
  • David Brenner known as set dresser
  • Kristin Emery known as charge scenic (as Kristen Emery)
  • Josh Fifarek known as storyboard artist
  • Shannon Finnerty known as assistant prop master
  • Yolan Fisher known as prop master
  • Eduardo Garabal known as lead dresser
  • Richard Hebrank known as construction coordinator
  • John Jackson known as key construction grip
  • JoJo Li known as additional graphics (as Jojo Li)
  • Melissa B. Miller known as art department coordinator
  • Darin J. Patterson known as art production assistant (as Darin Patterson)
  • Chris Potter known as set dresser
  • Kevin L. Raper known as graphics (as Kevin Raper)
  • Brendan K. Russell known as set dresser (as Brendan Russell)
  • Rene Sekula known as prop assistant
  • Max Sherwood known as on-set dresser
  • Mark Sonderskov known as construction coordinator
  • Brandon Tonner-Connolly known as set dresser (as Brandon T. Connelly)
  • Adriano Valle known as on-set dresser
  • Alicia Van Couvering known as additional graphics
  • Charles Varga known as journeyman scenic (as Chuck Varga)
  • Gerardo Villarroel known as set dressing production assistant
  • Cathy Wassylenko known as camera scenic
  • Uriah Herr known as set dresser (uncredited)
  • Linette McCown known as sculptor (uncredited)
  • Linette McCown known as set dresser (uncredited)




Production Companies:

  • Fox Searchlight Pictures (present)
  • ATO Pictures (presents) (producer)
  • Contrafilm (producer)
  • Aramid Entertainment Fund (in association with)
  • Dune Entertainment III (made in association with)
  • Choke Film

Other Companies:

  • ARRI / Camera Service Center  camera equipment (as Arri-Camera Service Center)
  • ARRI / Camera Service Center  lighting and grip equipment (as Arri-Camera Service Center)
  • ATO Records  soundtrack
  • Act One Script Clearance  script clearance
  • Atlantic Theatre Company, The  the producers wish to thank
  • Axium International  payroll services
  • BBC Motion Gallery  additional footage
  • Big Fantastic  the producers wish to thank
  • Bowery Hotel  the producers wish to thank
  • Calvin Klein  the producers wish to thank
  • Century 21 Department Stores  the producers wish to thank
  • County of Essex, New Jersey, The  the producers wish to thank (as The County of Essex, New Jersey)
  • Creative Artists Agency (CAA)  the producers wish to thank
  • D.R. Reiff & Associates  insurance
  • Donadio & Olsen  the producers wish to thank
  • Eagle Rock Diner  the producers wish to thank
  • Eastman Kodak  the producers wish to thank
  • Eat Catering  craft service
  • Essex County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs  the producers wish to thank (as Essex County Dept. of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs)
  • Film Finances  completion guarantor (as Film Finances, Inc.)
  • Gersh Agency, The  the producers wish to thank
  • Getty Images  additional footage provided by
  • Gotham Sound  walkies
  • Gourmet To U  caterer
  • Intelligent Media  international monitoring agency
  • International Creative Management (ICM)  the producers wish to thank
  • Kee Casting  extras casting: San Diego
  • Lightnin' Production Rentals  transportation equipment
  • Maggie McGill Photography  the producers wish to thank
  • Mark Woolen & Associates  the producers wish to thank
  • Mesob  the producers wish to thank
  • Metz Wilson Bus  the producers wish to thank
  • Metz Wilson Buses  the producers wish to thank
  • Mignon Steakhouse  the producers wish to thank
  • New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission  the producers wish to thank (as New Jersey Motion Picture & Television Commission)
  • Nouveau Sushi  the producers wish to thank
  • On Location Education  on-set tutor
  • Postworks New York  dailies telecine (as Postworks, New York)
  • Production Resources  product placement and clearances
  • Quality Sound Studios  foley (as Quality Sound Works)
  • Schreck Rose Dapello Adams & Hurwitz  legal services
  • Sir Groovy  special thanks (music services)
  • State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection  the producers wish to thank
  • Sutra  the producers wish to thank
  • Technicolor Culver City  digital intermediate
  • Technicolor Sound Services  audio post production
  • The Prelinger Archives  additional footage (as The Prelinger Collection at the Internet Archive of Moving Images)
  • Titilations  the producers wish to thank
  • Upload Films  post-production
  • Upload Films  titles
  • Vuguru  the producers wish to thank


  • Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation (2008) (worldwide) (all media)
  • 20th Century Fox (2009) (France) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox (2008) (Singapore) (theatrical)
  • Fox Searchlight Pictures (2008) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Maple Pictures (2008) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Japan (2010) (Japan) (DVD)
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2009) (UK) (DVD)
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2009) (USA) (DVD)
  • Gativideo (2009) (Argentina) (DVD)
  • Koch Entertainment (2009) (Germany) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Maple Pictures (2009) (Canada) (DVD)
  • Paramount (2009) (Sweden) (DVD)



Other Stuff

Special Effects:

  • Upload Films (visual effects)

Visual Effects by:

  • Reza Amidi known as digital conform
  • Reza Amidi known as opticals
  • Eduardo Cisneros known as imaging technician
  • Daniel 'Ishi' Cruz known as imaging technician
  • John Flores known as imaging technician
  • Alex Hernandez known as imaging technician
  • Tim Heugle known as data wrangler (as Tim Heugele)
  • Kevin Lomet known as data wrangler
  • Ann Lopez known as imaging technician
  • Elizabeth Ostermann known as digital restoration
  • John Portnoy known as visual effects: Upload Films
  • Paola Varvaro known as digital restoration
  • George Zidd known as data wrangler

Release Date:

  • USA 21 January 2008 (Sundance Film Festival)
  • USA 12 March 2008 (South by Southwest Film Festival)
  • USA 27 April 2008 (USA Film Festival)
  • USA 5 June 2008 (Seattle International Film Festival)
  • USA 15 June 2008 (Maui Film Festival)
  • USA 19 June 2008 (Nantucket Film Festival)
  • USA 20 June 2008 (CineVegas International Film Festival)
  • USA 22 June 2008 (Provincetown Film Festival)
  • USA 23 June 2008 (Los Angeles Film Festival)
  • Switzerland 9 August 2008 (Locarno Film Festival)
  • Greece 21 September 2008 (Athens Film Festival)
  • Brazil 26 September 2008 (Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival)
  • USA 26 September 2008 (limited)
  • UK 1 October 2008 (Raindance Film Festival)
  • Poland 10 October 2008 (Warsaw International FilmFest)
  • Croatia 24 October 2008 (Zagreb Film Festival)
  • Australia 30 October 2008
  • Singapore 30 October 2008
  • Poland 14 November 2008
  • Ireland 21 November 2008
  • Spain 21 November 2008
  • UK 21 November 2008
  • Hong Kong 27 November 2008
  • Russia 15 January 2009 (limited)
  • France 21 January 2009
  • USA 17 February 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • UK 23 March 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Brazil 24 March 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Portugal 26 March 2009
  • Czech Republic 29 March 2009 (Febio Film Festival)
  • Iceland 3 April 2009
  • Argentina 8 April 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Hungary 14 April 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Denmark 18 April 2009 (CPHPIX Festival)
  • Germany 6 May 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Estonia 13 May 2009
  • Italy 13 May 2009
  • Turkey 14 August 2009
  • Sweden 23 September 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Japan 27 August 2010 (DVD premiere)

MPAA: Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity and language



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , .


  1. Robert_90 from Australia
    30 Mar 2012, 3:24 pm

    As of writing, Choke has not yet been given official distribution, andwill not get it for about another month and a half at least (dependingon your location). However, I managed to see it at the annual localfilm festival. I'll bring this review up when the film gets a widerrelease, 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 (AnjelicaHuston) alive and in hospital. He does this in the hope of finding outthe truth about his strangely absent father. To pay the bills, hepretends to choke on his dinner in fancy restaurants and plays off hissaviour's heroism for financial gain.

    I think the majority of readers here are at the very least aware of theexistence of Fight Club, the only other major movie aside from Choke tobe based off a Chuck Palahniuk novel. Most of the people who will seekout Choke will do it mainly because of the connection to either FightClub or the Choke novel (or both, as the case may be). Of course, I'llhave to play the comparison game here, but it has to be said – Choke isa very different beast to both its source novel and its spiritualpredecessor, Fight Club.

    Anyone who's read Palahniuk's writing will know that his books arefrequently dark, very twisted and somewhat humorous. Words like"diseased" and "cancerous" come to mind. It's this same feeling thatinfected both the Fight Club and Choke novels and made them perversejoys to read. Palahniuk's touch even translated perfectly in DavidFincher's adaptation. With Clark Gregg's adaptation of Choke, thestylish darkness is traded for a far more conventional"quasi-independent comic" approach. Strangely enough, this seems tosuit Choke even better.

    After all, Choke is first and foremost a comedy. At a guess, I'd sayit's roughly 80 per cent faithful to the original novel (more on thatlater) with a large number of jokes lifted from the novel. The laughfactor was a strange thing. On one hand, the laughs managed to staymore or less consistent, with none of the jokes falling flat. On theother 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 mewonder what's better, a comedy with consistent chuckling or sporadicbursts of hilarious moments. Not too sure.

    Regardless, the film manages to be an enjoyable experience. First-timerGregg manages to handle his duties (which include writing, directingand even one very amusing bit part) with confidence, balancing comedywith drama effectively. The acting is impressive to say the least.Rockwell manages to nail Victor perfectly, yet it's Brad William Henkethat manages to steal several scenes as Victor's friend Denny. Anothertreat is the score, which is an interesting blend of different styles.

    Choke not only manages to be an entertaining comedy, it also becomes avery good example of how to streamline a 300-page novel into a moviethat's just shy of the 90-minute mark. The only problem with it dependson whether or not your sense of humour agrees with the film's, but ifthis film was already on your "to-see" list, that shouldn't be too muchof a problem.

  2. Michael Poloz from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 3:24 pm

    I had the opportunity to view the film Choke at Columbia CollegeChicago for a screening which held a Q&A with the main actor of thefilm, Sam Rockwell; so being that I read the novel before as well, Iwould like to share my take on the film.

    No synopsis here; read the one that IMDb's.

    If you have read the Palahniuk novel Choke, then you should expect thatthis 90 minute film cannot hold all of the sexual intensity (andcomical vulgarity) that the novel had the space to provide for. Do notget me wrong–this film is very funny and Sam Rockwell is, as usual,superb in the anti-hero role that he's played so well in other films.

    My one (and major) problem with the film is the fact that it was 90minutes and wasn't pushed to be a 2 hour piece. I felt that there wasso much more to delve into psychologically that Choke the novel didwith sex addiction and the story and idea (will not spoil here) of whothe character Victor Mancini was or thinks he is. Rockwell's greatacting did a lot to pick up this slag, I do have to mention.

    One thing I did like, which was also done with the ending of Fight Club(another Palahniuk novel) is that (again, will not spoil here) thefinish to the Choke film was more satisfying then the deus ex machinaendings that Palahniuk sometimes (well, many times) does with hisstories.

    Kelly Macdonald, who is wonderful in anything that she is in, as wellas the other supporting actors and actresses kept the story alive andin a wonderful way.

    The pacing of the film as well as the narrative was very much"Palahniuk" and this is a pace and narrative that is one of a kind andmost interesting to view; which is aside from the usually predictableflow of the other films of today.

    I did give this movie a 7/10 but I still believe that it is a moviethat should be seen by anyone who likes to laugh, especially at thingsthey don't think they would laugh at. Also, because the overall storyis hilarious and is satisfyingly unique and the acting makes the filmwhole, too.

    And did I mention Sam Rockwell was great?

  3. Wolf30x from Cincinnati, OH
    30 Mar 2012, 3:24 pm

    This movie left me in a strangely ambivalent state after I watched it,because I'm not sure if I'm judging it on its actual merits, or myexpectations. Having been a fan of Chuck Palahniuk's novel, I wasexpecting something brash, frenetic and perfectly offensive, but in agood way. The problem is that while the novel was blunt and vulgar,spelling out every bit of Victor Mancini's sexual exploits in almostacademic detail, the movie stops a bit short of pushing the edge andinstead leaves a lot of it up to suggestion.

    Another reason that I'm not sure how I felt about it is because thedirector took a unique approach to the work that I'm still trying todecide if I liked or not. You see, Chuck Palahniuk's novels have a verydistinctive narrative style to them, and in Fight Club (also based onone of Chuck's books,) director David Fincher emulated it perfectly.I'm talking mostly about Chuck's usage of repetition with lines such as"I am Jack's colon," Choke's director, Clark Gregg chose not to emulatethis and instead brought the text of the book to life without mimickingit's distinctive narrative. So if you're a fan of Chuck's work, thismay bother you. On the other hand, it does help Choke stand out on itsown merits and not feel like it's trying to build off of the success ofFight Club.

    So for those of you who haven't read the book, how does it stand? Wellas I said before, considering how much more graphic and indecent thismovie's source material was, I think the movie missed out on a lot ofits potential. I almost feel like Clark Gregg went too easy on all ofthe characters making them come off as sympathetic when they workedbetter as being completely hopeless. It's also not as funny as it couldhave been, since a lot of Victor's (the protagonist's) interactionswith everybody from the sex addicts, to the people in the historicreenactment village to the people he pretends to choke for, were allsummarized too much, and had much more potential for comedy. Overalli'd say this movie is alright, but could have been done better.

  4. jaredmobarak from buffalo, ny, usa
    30 Mar 2012, 3:24 pm

    It took almost a decade for a second movie to come out from theliterary source that is Chuck Palahniuk. David Fincher owned FightClub, making it a cinematic wonder, enhancing the novel and becoming awonderful companion to it. Rumors swirled afterwards about all hisother stories being optioned for film translation, but after 9-11halted Survivor's chances and Invisible Monsters' progress ended, itdidn't seem good. But here comes 2008, with an unlikely savior in ClarkGregg, and all of a sudden we have Choke in cinematic glory to bringthe author back into the spotlight. I love his books and all of themhave a pop culture, post-modern feel showing sensibilities that cansucceed on the big screen. Is Gregg the optimum choice to help thecause? Possibly not, but this is a very narrative driven story withoutthe flash and flair of other novels, so his inexperience helming a filmisn't overtly noticeable. While it is not as good as the book—how manyactually are—this film keeps the tone and essence intact, bringing tolife the words on the page. It's subtle and subversive and kept meentertained throughout.

    Gregg has been in Hollywood for a while now, a familiar face to DavidMamet fans, and for all you kiddies, an actor in Ironman. The role hegives himself here is a good one, the stickler boss of the colonialtheme park that our leads are employed at. It's a thankless role anddefinitely the straightman of the ensemble; however, it is hisdirecting that is really put on display. He doesn't try to go beyondhis limits and I commend him for it. Single-handedly saving the worldfrom possibly going Palahniuk adaptation-less forever, I have nothingbut praise for the man. There are some camera tricks utilized, mostobviously the quick cuts between our lead Victor Mancini's sex-addictedvisions of every woman being naked to their fully clothed reality, butit's more or less a strict, linear narrative. I do have to mention thefinal shot, which carries on as the credits play, a long take of twoleads making out. In extreme close-up, the highly personal nature ofwhat is displayed leaves you somewhat uncomfortable due to the length,but also happy at the idea of these two partaking in the action. It'sthe boldest stroke Gregg makes and, being the last thing we see, thestrongest most memorable moment for me.

    It's all a comedy from start to finish, but one laced in good writingand subtlety. There are no real laugh-out-loud moments, except perhapsthe revelation of a man being blind, just a consistent journey ofsarcasm, heartfelt humor, and genuine witty banter. Victor, playedperfectly by Sam Rockwell, really breathing life into the character asI envisioned him when reading the book, is a man that goes torestaurants and deliberately chokes so that some unsuspecting GoodSamaritan can save him. These people now have a bond with him, feelingresponsible for his life and in effect send him gifts and moneywhenever asked or on the anniversary of their fateful encounter. As oneeyewitness's account says, her son was about to be divorced until hissense of bravery at saving Victor made his wife fall in love all overagain. This kind of thing is a common trend with our lead; his uncannyability to be devious and evil yet always have the outcome end up beinggenerous and profound to those he is wronging. No wonder the guybecomes glued to the possibility he may be the second coming ofChrist—believe me, it's actually a plot thread, and one that holds thefilm together.

    Rockwell's manic overabundance of life becomes a whirlwind, sleepingwith random women at every turn, hanging out with hismasturbation-obsessed best friend (Brad William Henke who hopefullywill start getting more work after this), angering his boss by using20th century objects in a colonial environment, and visiting hismother, who is suffering from dementia, that believes he is her olddeceased lawyers. Only Palahniuk's warped mind could come up with thisstuff, let alone tie it all together into a coherent plot that isinteresting to follow through to its conclusion. A burgeoningrelationship with a young nurse at the home, (Kelly Macdonald trying tohide her Scottish accent for who knows what reason), adds some conflictand space for Victor to finally seek help for himself and begin stepfour of the sex-addict program. Having a lifetime of pain brought on bythe one person he loved, Anjelica Huston as his mother, keeps himclosed off to the world, making it strange for him when he finallyfinds someone he can open himself to.

    There is so much going on, it'd be tough to talk about without eitherruining the story or ruining the joke's setup. Choke is definitely notfor everyone, the humor is probably too risqué for some and the subjectmatter too eccentric and modern for others. Palahniuk, who has a nicebackground cameo at the end, uses thinly veiled satire to bring us intohis surreal interpretations of reality and be able to find ourselvesliving there. It is definitely one of his smallest scale novels, as faras craziness goes, but also one of his most accessible. For thatreason, and because Gregg deftly adapted it with a respect to thesource material, we have a resounding success. Hopefully allowing us tobe brought back into his world of miscreants and fiends with a piecesuch as this will mean the more out-there stories will finally findtheir way to Hollywood. Scratch that. How about to a nice indie companythat will do it right?

  5. J_Trex from Philadelphia
    30 Mar 2012, 3:24 pm

    The trailer for this movie looked promising, even though the reviewswere mixed. I liked Sam Rockwell in 'Matchstick Men' and 'Confessionsof a Dangerous Mind', so I thought I'd take a chance & check this out.

    The plot of the movie is Vic (Sam Rockwell) is a sexually obsessedcolonial era theme park employee and part-time con man, who issupporting his invalid mother (Anjelica Houston), who resides in anursing home, which costs $3000 per month.

    The film is a series of vignettes, with the central themes being Vic'schildhood, his mentally ill mom, his descent into sexual addiction, hisrelationship with his best friend Denny (excellently portrayed by BradHenke) and his group therapy sessions with other sex addicts.

    Vic re-counts his upbringing with his mom, which was chaotic, becausehis mom was basically nuts. Vince never knew his father, & much of themovie (when we aren't subjected to Vince's actual and imagined sexualencounters), is in trying to figure out who his father was. At onepoint, Vic was lead to believe his mom had been artificiallyinseminated with semen derived from the DNA of Jesus Christ. Needlessto say, this generated a lot of funny bits.

    At the nursing home where his mother lives, Vince befriends Dr. PaigeMarshall (Kelly Macdonald), who also happens to be very close toVince's mom. This is a key relationship in the film, & figuresprominently in the film's conclusion. I won't spoil the ending further,but it was a good one.

    This was a very good film, well written & acted.

  6. Melissa from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 3:24 pm

    Chuck Palahniuk appeals to a younger audience? I thought this movie wasvery well written, very well acted and dark and disturbing. I will addthis book to my must read.

    I guess I'm a Sam Rockwell fan, and the reason I desperately wanted towatch this movie and it was only after watching it did I realize thiswas based on a book. The movie stands alone very well. I just can'tstop thinking about it. I never believed Victor (Sam Rockwell) to be adisgusting human being, I saw him as flawed, horribly flawed,misunderstood, imperfect and what else can you expect when your motherwas completely insane.

    I thought Choke was a phenomenal movie, with amazing depth of characterand insight about mental illness. Victor is a sex addict, so there isan awful lot of sex in the movie – if this bothers you, then do notbother. You will need an open mind to enjoy this movie.

    The comments here on IMDb are extremely disappointing, so please do notbother reading them.

  7. Joseph Sylvers from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 3:24 pm

    The only Chuck P. book I own. It's a very funny book, about lust andsalvation, and here it is on screen in…pretty good form. That is tosay I was a little disappointed, with the ending in particular, whichstrikes a very different tone (not terrible, just different)….butthat's neither here nor there.

    Choke is the story of Victor, med-school dropout who takes care of his70's radical mom now suffering from dementia and dying after years ofdrug use and mental instability. In order to pay for her upkeep, Victorpulls double duty at his two jobs, one as an employee at a ColonialAmerican theme park, and two, choking on food in restaurant, so thatthose who save his life, will feel obligated to help him out with cashfrom time to time. Who would save someone's life, only to let them die,once you know their sad penniless (over exaggerated) story? Victortargets the wealthy and affluent, "You don't wanna get saved by somewaiter", he says in one of many direct addresses to the audience. Thebroken 4th wall, reminiscent of Fight Club, is taken directly from thebook, and one of the films stronger techniques.

    In the hospital he meets, a young doctor, who assists him intranslating his mother's diary, which leads to shocking questions aboutVictor's origins, and his father or lack there of.

    Victor goes to sex addict meetings usually just to have sex in thebathroom with fellow addicts. While his best friend Denny, a chronicmasturbator, begins taking his first shaky steps to recover, whichinvolves romancing a Stripper and collecting rocks for each day hissobriety, "idle hands are the devils playground". The sex addiction andthe need to save his mom, are the twin turbines that propel this film,and by the end they are both so clearly intertwined it escapes beingexploitative.

    I enjoyed this version of Choke, which was kinda of like Choke-Light,but still very funny, if only slightly missing the aim of the novel;the heady and vulgar mix of the sacred and the profane. That is to say,important sub-plots, and main-plot points get muted; we know why Victorchokes, there are more reasons than I stated above, but we don't get tosee the people who fund his faints here, as we do in the book, and sothat aspect of the story, seems a little disconnected. As do Denny andthe rocks, another vital story element for me, got put on theback-burner here. Denny replaces one fetish with another, and most ofthe rooms of his house are filled with rocks.

    (Actually they shot this ending, you can see pictures online, butdecided against it, before release.) Okay, but everyone always says thebook is better than the movie, I know, I know, I just had to get thatout.

    What's left of Choke though is commanded by Sam Rockwell, who is onlyimproving as an actor, and Angelica Houston who needs no intro. Whileit's not as conceptually taught as I would have liked, its stillreally, really funny, and at a few moments, a bit moving (Ive got apersonal soft spot for movies with visits to the demented in hospitals;The Savages is especially hard to watch), at least for me.

    It's an allegorical sex comedy, but it's also a very accessible one,considering the weirdness of the material. It's a more personal storythan "Fight Club", and almost an opposite ideology, "buildinganything", versus "tearing down everything", but told in the samesardonic writerly tone, weave come to expect from Palahniuk.

    In the end, I just wanted more, but it was fun, and the story wasbrought to life, mostly just as I had imagined it when reading.

    Also it's got the funniest and perhaps the only funny, "rape" scene,ever filmed (it is and it's not what it sounds like).

  8. GoneWithTheTwins from
    30 Mar 2012, 3:24 pm

    An extreme exploration of sexual deviancy, compulsions andabnormalities, Choke is thought-provoking and challenging. It dwells onoddities to make the story unpredictable and spontaneous, instead ofpresenting eccentricities just for the sake of being weird. This darklyhumorous work features outstanding performances by its clever cast, aswell as some of the most perversely shocking and hilariously vulgarexplanations of self destruction and redemption.

    To pay for an expensive hospital room for his mother, who can no longereven recognize her own son, Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell) frequentlypretends to choke during meals at expensive restaurants. Planning to besaved by the wealthiest patrons, he then parasitically feeds on theirheroism and sympathies for the life they've saved. Conning his rescuersthrough letters and updates on his life (renewing the "saviorexperience" as he calls it), he continually receives money to use forhis mother.

    While not pulling his scam, Victor works at a Colonial Williamsburgtheme park (imagine the Renaissance Festival) where he portrays thebackbone of America – an Irish indentured servant. Along with his bestfriend Denny (Brad William Henke) he also finds time to cruise sexualaddiction recovery meetings looking for quick action. But when hismother Ida (Angelica Huston) slips deeper into derangement, he seeksout murky truths about his childhood with the help of the mysteriousDr. Paige Marshall (Kelly MacDonald).

    As Victor narrates his piteous existence, he's on a fast track to beingthe most unordinary of misfits; and yet he ends up being our antiheroand the least of the insane. In the world of Choke, even the nuns arescum. Although a med-school dropout, a man with few morals and aninsatiable lust for meaningless sex, Victor still manages to be acharacter to hail. Well-placed flashbacks give us insight on hisunfavorably anomalistic childhood, as well as the purity and innocencethat once existed in our now corrupted paladin.

    The narcissism and peculiarities of the characters in Choke account forits uniqueness and its dark, vulgar humor. Although its target audiencemight be slim, the success of Palahniuk's only other theatricallyadapted story Fight Club might boost interests in this original andhighly entertaining film. The similarities between the two are limited,aside from the quirky dialogue, deviant subject matter and thefrequenting of rehabilitation workshops, but the idea that the mosttwisted minds can eventually produce sound satisfaction is a testamentto these often morbid plot lines.

    – Mike Massie

  9. DonFishies from Canada
    30 Mar 2012, 3:24 pm

    Choke tells the story of Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell), a sex addictworking in a colonial times reproduction. His mother, Ida (AnjelicaHuston), suffers from dementia, and spends most of her time thinkingVictor is someone else (mainly long dead lawyers) during his frequentvisits to the hospital. To pay the bills, Mancini has a bit of a uniquetalent: he chokes on food in swanky restaurants, and practically forcesinnocent bystanders into saving him from death.

    I read the book Choke a few years ago, thinking it would be same invain to writer Chuck Palahniuk's near flawless Fight Club (and ofcourse, David Fincher's incredible film). But Choke was nothing likeit, and anyone going to see the film thinking it will be is in for adisappointment.

    But like Fight Club before it, Choke is adapted quite well from itsraunchy source material. The story is quite liberally changed in someinstances, but in others, it is an almost literal recreation. Manciniis a well-rounded character, with bizarrely comic traits that are purePalahniuk. I found myself almost crying from laughing so hard at thecomic mishappenings he got himself into, frequently calling back to theevents in the book. It was strange however that so little an amount oftime is spent on the choking that Mancini has down practically to anart form, but then its off-the-rails, frank portrayal of sex was alwaysmuch stronger. First-time director Clark Gregg does an excellent jobmaking this character so true to Palahniuk's work that you can forgivehim for glossing off something so integral to the plot (but at least itmakes for a whole lot less convoluted, confusing and downright sillythird act). Gregg's addition of the little idiosyncrasies of Mancini'slifestyle (small cuts to previous sexual encounters, frequentbreast-filled day dreams) only further strengthens how close the filmcuts to its source material.

    But despite being 92 minutes long, I think Gregg could have done with atouch more editing. The film is not lengthy at all (many sequencespractically zip by in the hyper-kinetic sense of Fight Club before it),but the film feels quite long in some instances. Despite theirimportance to the story, the flashback sequences involving a muchyounger looking Huston and young Victor (playing by Jonah Bobo) drag onendlessly, nearly losing their train of thought mid-scene. Some of thescenes between Mancini and Ida's doctor, Paige Marshall (KellyMacdonald), also have a habit of dragging their heels. Some cuts hereand there in these scenes could have only benefited the film. As well,Gregg's doing away with the third act leaves some subplots hanging inthe balance, never to fully integrate themselves with the film as awhole. Non-readers may not even notice some of them (including oneglaring omission), but it may strike those who have read it as quiteodd.

    The supporting cast is pretty well rounded. Macdonald does a great jobin her scenes, as do Bijou Phillips in a small role as one of Mancini'sco-workers, and Gregg himself as the lead character in the colonialtimes reproduction. I had failed to realize it was him when watchingthe film, but he brings a special greatness to every one of hischaracter's lines.

    I was a little disappointed however in Brad William Henke's portrayalof Mancini's friend Denny however. Not because Henke does a bad job inthe role, but because he does not get nearly enough time on screen. Hesteals many of his scenes, and seems to know just how to frame Denny,frequently shifting from the downtrodden weakling of a sidekick, to thestrong willed individual Mancini wishes he could be. Henke is havingfun in the goofy role, and it is obvious that he is very comfortabledoing it. He does not have a whole lot of credits on his filmography,but I can only help this role makes him a lot more accessible inHollywood. More scenes could have only reinforced the notion.

    Huston, looking much older than usual for the majority of the film, isexcellent in her portrayal of Ida. She does not look to be doing much,but the emotions she conveys simply through her facial movements andexpressions is enough to suggest that she is doing more than simplyphoning in her performance. The role may not seem too tough, but shepulls it off without breaking a sweat. Despite disliking the flashbackscenes, they only further developed her character into the closetpsycho she is so great at playing.

    But the movie rests on Rockwell's shoulders, and he is clearly up tothe task. The breath of life he gives Victor Mancini is almost poeticin how personal it looks and sounds. No, he does not give the sameenergy that Brad Pitt does as Tyler Durdan, but this does not seem tobother Rockwell in the least. He plays Mancini just the way he needs toin order to make him a believable regular guy, suffering from addictionproblems and his need to please his overbearing mother even as she isslowly withering away. You can see the pain in his face right fromminute one, and never once does he let us take this idealism forgranted. He uses it and characterizes Mancini with a great breadth ofthought not regularly seen in contemporary American cinema.

    While it is not perfect at all, Choke is a wonderfully valiant attemptat recapturing the nearly demented nature of a Palahniuk book. Hisunique voice is captured quite fluidly within the film, andwriter/director Gregg can be quite proud of his work here. With thehelp of a great supporting cast, Rockwell practically lights up thescreen in a way that only further proves his greatness as an actor.


  10. pyrocitor from Ontario, Canada
    30 Mar 2012, 3:24 pm

    Few authors have as instantly distinctive a style as Chuck Palahniuk:simply look for the most convoluted, scathingly hilarious, disturbinglyfilthy and twisted narratives which somehow prove revelatory ofstrikingly genuine nuggets of human nature, usually the ones we wouldrather keep hidden. Perhaps for this reason, with the exception of hisenormous cult hit Fight Club, Palahniuk's work has seldom been adaptedfor the big screen, with movie executives likely preferring to workwith plots which they can be sure their viewers will understand, andnot result in heart attacks from either repulsion or outrage. As such,writer/director Clark Gregg's adaptation of Palahniuk's Choke is adaring move – after all, how often does one see the tale of a sardonicsex-addict playing on the sympathies of those who save him from chokingto death in restaurants to pay for his mother's hospital bills gracingthe marquees? And yet, as surprising as it may seem, for all of thecaustically humorous overtones, at the heart of Choke lies asurprisingly tender and fascinatingly complex character study, brimmingwith humanity and pathos… and yes, loads of gratuitous sex on theside.

    Those expecting more along the lines of Fight Club's nihilistic socialcommentary and brutal violence may find themselves disappointed, asChoke's sordid portrait of a man so used to mindlessly numbing his paincoming to terms with his flaws and potential for good almost byaccident proves a far more sympathetic look, albeit one with graphicand perverse sexual content. That being said, writer/director Gregg'sscreenplay is a razor sharp medley of slashing Palahniuk wit and bitingone-liners as well as surprisingly poignant character revelations,blending an increasingly eclectic myriad of events into an impressivelyconcise (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 flirtswhich but mercifully avoids succumbing to convention and provides whatmay be one plot twist too many, making the finale somewhatunnecessarily cluttered (and yet strangely fitting) but in such animpressively unique work, such minute concerns are easily forgiven.

    One of the film's many blessings is the casting of the supremelytalented Sam Rockwell as Victor Mancini, the sort of lead role he isfar too often deprived of. It is a testament to Rockwell's immenseskill and charisma that he manages not only to sympathize a characterwho ultimately sets out to make himself dislikeable but also evokesboth hilarity and pathos in the least likely places, delivering one ofthe most remarkable performances in recent memory. Similarly, AngelicaHuston is incendiary as Mancini's mother (in flashbacks shown to be aneven less stable parent before her dementia) and her interactions withher son prove surprisingly poignant and emotionally wrenching. Thetremendously likable Brad William Henke raises many a laugh asMancini's similarly sex-addicted best friend, and Kelly Macdonald givesa quirky but charming performance as the doctor who may, despiteMancini's best efforts, end up being a love interest. Director Gregghas a hilarious supporting role as the earnest head of Victor'scollonial historical interpreter site, and Jonah Bobo proves a risingtalent to watch as Victor's childhood self.

    Darkly hilarious, sublimely subversive and yet hiding surprising pathosand heart, Choke proves one of the most offbeat films of the year, andis all the more entertaining for it. While the film is without questionnot for everyone, those willing to stomach the acerbic and oftendisturbing humour and hefty sexual content may discover one of the mostdarkly enjoyable movie experiences of quite some time.


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