Sunday, September 28, 2008

Review - Choke

A sex addict who works as a coloinal reenactor visits his deranged mother in a private medical hospital trying to unlock her memories of his troubled childhood. The historical reenactor in order to pay for his mother's expensive medical bills, stakes out high class citizens in up scale restaurants in which he forces himself to choke, so that they may save him and feel sympathy, usually resulting in money.

Based on the novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk and directed by Clark Gregg, Choke is a both a cruel and hysterical look into the psyche of Victor Mancini and what resulted from his mother's destructive nature when he was a child. Gregg does a great job with the core material in nailing the weight of Mancini's troubled past and its gateway into his adult life. The sexual escapades of Mancini were also a riot and did provide an alarming look into his problems with relationships, again stemming from his mother. The film is short and sweet and has a great pace with near perfect editing to it. Particularly the flashabcks of Victor as a child were done very well allowing the viewer to see just how deranged his mother was and is.

Sam Rockwell plays Victor Mancini and does a phenominal job portraying the sexual deviant. He brings both intensity and hilarity to the role created by famed novelist Chuck Palahniuk, resulting in true emotion from a character that one would usually find hard to find sympathy in. Rockwell, who is a genius in the acting world, brings a flare to the role that only he could and seems perfect fit for the slimey character. The dialogue Rockwell delivers is outstanding throughout and gives the viewer a rare range of his and the characters inner-pysche.

Victor's mother Ida is played by Angelica Huston, and once again Huston delivers a perfect performance. Between the flashback scenes and time spent in the hospital Angelica Huston provides much of the weight and seriousness to the script. She opens the viewers eyes to just what was the beginnings of Victor's psychological and sexual deviances. Specifically how she would hold her love over Victor's head always deeming what should be the most important to the child, regardless of his well-being.

The familiar material from Palauhnik is very good here in Choke. Most of the film revolves around Victor's inner-monologues, like in Fight Club, giving the viewer another perspective to the complexed character. Choke is a film that definately needs a couple of viewings to fully soak in all that takes place in the short 89 minute film. There really is alot coming at you in the satirical look at a sex-addicted man who is trying to cope with his mentaly ill mother. Although there is alot coming at you, every angle in done in such a way that it keeps the viewer compelled while providing short but comical scenes that overall tie the film together quite nicely.

Finally Choke was a great film. It locks in your attention while dealing with serious issues handling them with both a delightful wit and cynical humor. The entire cast is very strong, with stand up performances from both Rockwell and Huston. Director Clark Gregg in a small part also offers some certain hilarity with his character Lord High Charlie and his utter disgust for Victor and his best friend Denny played by Brad William Henke. Overall, Choke is a definate must see for any fan of Rockwell or novelist Chuck Palahnuik, but more so just an all-around enjoyable film.