Movie Reviews

Film Review: “Choke”

(Fox Searchlight Pictures. 1 hour, 32 minutes. Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity and language. Directed by Clark Gregg.) Sam Rockwell (Victor Mancini), Anjelica Huston (Ida Mancini), Kelly Macdonald (Paige Marshall), Brad William Henke (Denny). Music by Nathan Larson.

Based on a novel by Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club), Choke tells the story of Victor Mancini, a recovering/relapsing sex addict who works in a colonial theme park. He spends his nights choking himself in restaurants in order to bilk Good Samaritans out of their hard-earned cash. Seedy as that may seem, he runs this scam to make enough money to keep his demented, emotionally-confusing mother (Huston) in a hospital. Though the book shares a darker tone with Fight Club, Choke displays a bit sunnier disposition, which works well for it. We spend much of the movie understanding Victor and his circumstances, but, in a refreshing twist, he isn’t resolved in typical Hollywood fashion. Just as he begins to get himself on track, he relapses again. He is a total creep, but I felt sympathy for Victor, who seems to have the entire deck stacked against him. Rockwell’s performance sways easily between tragedy and comedy, alternating between cynical sex-hound and fate’s punching bag, and he displays great chemistry with the rest of the cast. Henke, playing Victor’s best friend Denny, threatens to steal every one of his scenes. A good first effort by Gregg, and worth the watch for Palahniuk fans and newbies alike.

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Jared Counts

Digital Technology Manager

Jared Counts moved to Houston in 1995, survived high school and college, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston with a degree in Communications (Media Production) and a minor in Film Studies. After being hired part-time at KUHF Radio in early 2003, he proceeded to bounce between...

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