Directed by Clark Gregg
Starring Sam Rockwell, Angelica Huston, Brad William Henke, Kelly Macdonald
Release Date: September 26, 2008
Before a single scene was ever filmed, the movie Choke was at a disadvantage. Whether or not the film would be any good was of little relevance. It was already handicapped by two inevitable comparisons: to the Chuck Palahniuk novel the movie was based on and to David Fincher‘s Fight Club, also adapted from a Palahniuk book. They are comparisons are for obvious reasons, but in the interest of continuing that fairness I watched this movie with two thoughts in mind. One, this wasn’t going to be Fight Club. Choke didn’t have the director, stars, or the budget to even come close to competing. Two, and most importantly, the books are always better. Saying you didn’t like a movie adapted from a book because it wasn’t as good as the book is like saying you didn’t like Star Wars because you don’t like science fiction. I’m not saying it’s not possible or that some films haven’t come close, it’s just a stupid thing to say.
Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell) has, what could be described as, baggage. Lots of baggage. He is a sex addict struggling to complete his recovery. He has a go-nowhere job as a historical interpreter at a colonial-era reenactment community. His mother, Ida (Angelica Huston) is in the hospital with a form of dementia that prevents her from recognizing Victor even though he visits daily. He had to drop out of med school to work and pay for his mother’s medical care. His job doesn’t sufficiently meet all of the financial requirements of the hospital so he has resorted scamming people. He goes to nice restaurants and pretends to be choking so unsuspecting patrons will “˜save’ him, feel bad, and send him money. Money he uses to pay for his mother’s hospital stay. A mother that doesn’t recognize him or deserve the attention she is getting. You get the idea; he’s got problems.
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