Given the buzz and aftertaste of Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk’s writing, it was only a matter of time before a second of the transgressive author’s books made that inevitable leap from page to screen. A matter of time, yes, but of all the tales to follow Fight Club, few could’ve expected Chuck’s riotously quaint yarn, Choke. A seedy, semi-psychotic headscrew about sex, sons, sex, mothers, sex, love and scams…and sex.
Echoing Fight Club‘s depressing sense of modern life, Choke sucks us into the perverse life of troubled sex addict Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell), a Colonial times reenactor who’s spun a wretched swindle to pay for his mother’s fancy hospital care: pick a restaurant at random, wine there, dine there, then pretend you’re choking on a chunk of food so that the person who “rescues you” will feel emotionally and, more importantly, fiscally responsible for you for the rest of their life. Hideously shrewd, right? Well Choke’s that kind of film. So if sexually explicit dialogue, morally dubious narration, randy conmen and chronic masturbators fail to float your boat then, oh what the hell, Choke is a must see as far as comedies go in recent years. After all, it’s not all dicing with death and decree and sexual compulsion: elements of intimacy and romance do surface in this cloudy con-cum-sex pool. That sounded better in my head.
Choke (2008), directed by Clarke Gregg, is released on DVD in the UK by Twentieth Century Fox, Certificate 18.