Choke (2008)

When someone tells you there's a movie where Sam Rockwell plays a sex addict and keeps posting gifs of said porn movie everywhere, you just can't sit there and ignore it. That, my friends, is the reason I watched Choke. I wasn't expecting much from it --Rockwell being in it was enough-- and I guess that's why it was such a nice surprise. 

As I was saying, Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell) is a sex addict. He works in a colonial theme park and runs a scam by deliberately choking in restaurants to extract sympathy and financial support from his saviours to pay for his mother's (Anjelica Huston) hospital bills. Then one day Victor learns that his mother has been lying about his father's true identity all along and, with the help of his best friend Denny (Brad William Henke) and his mother's beautiful physician (Kelly Macdonald), he tries to discover the truth.

It's the kind of story that looks simple and predictable at first but eventually turns out to be quite unpredictable as it takes many implausible and interesting turns and a couple of delightful twists. Of course, if I knew Choke was based on Chuck Palahniuk's novel (the same guy who wrote Fight Club) I would have expected some twisted turns, but I'm sure I would have equally enjoyed the development of the plot.

Though engaging and interesting, it's far from being flawless. There are many subplots that aren't developed as they should have been --and probably as they were in the book. For example, we know why Victor chokes all the time in restaurants, but we don't get to see those people supporting him afterwards, which makes the whole storyline a little disconnected. Same goes for Denny's rock subplot. It looks as if Clark Gregg --who directed and wrote the script-- didn't know how to integrate those subplots into the main story.

Fox Searchlight Pictures
The characters, on the other hand, are good. Not good as in good people. They are quite unlikable, to be honest. They are horrible, messed-up and antipathetic characters with no morality whatsoever but somehow you will end up rooting and caring for them.

I should probably give the credits to the cast though, not the director/writer. Sam Rockwell once again gives an excellent performance. He brings so much energy into the film and he plays the sleazy bag to perfection. It's his performance that elevates the quality of the film. Brad William Henke is a delight as Victor's friend Denny. Anjelica Huston does a good job as the selfish, manipulative but loving mother. Kelly Macdonald is good as the doctor caring for Victor's mother. And Clark Gregg is hilarious as the arrogant Lord High Charlie, an asshole working with Victor at the theme park.

That being said, Choke doesn't work that well as a black comedy. Gregg tried but he wasn't able to balance well the dramatic and comic aspects of the story. Also, the comedy doesn't always work. And I feel like Victor's sex addiction could have been explored more. 


  1. I own this but it's been ages since I've seen it, but I liked it. It's probably time for a rewatch.

  2. It's a flawed film but still enjoyable due to Sam Rockwell, Kelly MacDonald, and Anjelica Huston. Plus, there is that great cameo from Gregg's father-in-law Joel Grey.

    1. I didn't know Grey was Gregg's father-in-law. I don't know much about Gregg though so I guess it's normal.