Palahniuk’s Novel Adaptation Choke Falls Flat

Sex in our modern culture is generally revered, glorified, and at times nearly heralded. Seldom, if ever, is sex seen as a drug as it is in Choke, a jumbled, confusing, and altogether rushed Chuck Palahniuk novel adaptation directed by Clark Gregg.
 
Victor Mancini (a sickly sly Sam Rockwell) is a sex-addict anti-hero who fills the commitment gap left from a childhood spent with a delusional con-mom perpetually on the run by having meaningless sex with strangers. Sounds great, right? And in fact, if Choke had stuck entirely to Sam Rockwell, the movie might have been, well, great.

 

Rockwell’s performance is one of the only bright spots in a messy, choppy, and altogether rushed film peppered with occasional hilarity that makes it just barely, well, bearable.

Victor’s quest throughout the movie is to pay for his aging mother’s private mental hospital bill with the hope that she will stay alive just long enough to tell him who his father is.  Spending his days as a tour guide in a colonial-era theme park and his evenings conning sympathetic and vulnerable concerned bystanders while still sprinkling a fair amount of sex in between, Victor’s life as the viewer sees it seems to spiral to unbelieveable depths as new information, and misinformation  (his mother lets it slip in her delusional state that his father really isn’t the travelling Nordic salesman he was thought to be) comes to his knowledge.

In the end, however, confusion and boredom dominate the mind of the viewer as the direction of the film is marred by supporting characters one never really gets familiar with and a plot that at times seems to barely chug along, making Choke as a less-than-necessary film for you to see.

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