Ever since the release of Fight Club in ’99, more and more people have been turned on to the original, twisted and unbelievable writings of author Chuck Palahniuk. Each Palahniuk fan believes that every one of his books would make a perfect movie. The second movie adapted from one of his books premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Now, Choke has made its way to nationwide distribution, including Utah theaters.
Sam Rockwell (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Matchstick Men) stars in Choke as Victor, a sex-addicted colonial reenactment character who suffers abandonment issues thanks to his dementia-stricken mother (Angelica Houstin). Every time Victor visits his mother in her care facility, her sickness prevents her from seeing Victor as her son, and instead as one of the many lawyers from her past.
During one of his visits, Victor’s mother reveals that she needs to speak to her son to confess the real identity of his absentee father. This becomes Victor’s drive through the majority of the film — to get this information from her before she dies. On his side, a new female doctor is willing to do anything she can for Victor, who is about to begin on a journey filled with selfishness, love, deity and a lot less sex than he’d like.
Choke is a dark comedy made for adults who can handle quite a bit of adult subject matter. When I saw the film at Sundance, I was sure that cuts would have to be made in order for it to receive an R rating. But there weren’t. Choke remains in its pure, dark, offensive form. It wouldn’t be the great movie it is without it.
Though Choke is not aligned 100% with the novel (what book-turned-movie ever is?), the changes made were done well, bringing perfect justice to Palahniuk’s brilliant text. As for the film, it is absolutely brilliant. As always, Rockwell gives a stellar performance. The levels of comedy and drama are perfectly blended in a way that almost turns Choke into a morality play — very strong work from actor and first time writer/director Clark Gregg.
If you’re a fan of Palahniuk, then don’t miss out on this great opportunity to support his work and see it brought to life. And who knows, if Choke does well in theaters, maybe they’ll make Survivor into a movie next.