CHOKE

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Choke Cover Now have you ever had to lie to someone just to protect them from being hurt? You know what I mean by this, don't you, pal? A fib. An untruth. A bit of misinformation. Fudging some facts. Or some other non-sequitur of this ilk. NO? What do you mean 'no'? LIAR! Your just like that Director: Clark Gregg; or his Actors: Sam Rockwell, Kelly MacDonald, with Anjelica Huston. But only in 2008, and for 89-minutes.


Choke : The Film - The Book


THE STORY:
Imagine you're the sex-addict, Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell), with a job you don't like, and with a dementia-ridden mother living in a nursing home you can hardly pay for.

Yeah. That's right. Ida's (Anjelica Huston) your mothers name. And she's being looked after by that pretty nurse called Paige (Kelly MacDonald), who informs you that the only way to make your mother feel better, is if you sire a baby with her, and use this baby’s stem cells for gene therapy.

But still. Can you do such a thing? Have sex with Paige? OK. I know that you're a sex-addict, and are fairly compliant with this sort of... errr... procedure. But come off it, man! Ida has just told you that your father isn't your real father! And suddenly this news causes your libido to drop faster than the Titanic in Iceberg season.

Wait up! I've got an idea. Why don't you get your best friend Denny (Brad William Henke) to visit your Mum, and coax some more information out of her? And if this doesn't work, check out her Diary instead, and get Paige to translate it's Italian contents afterwards?

Huh? What's that you say? All of this sounds nuts? Fair enough. Yet again, I suppose that is why what next transpires all fly's south when you hear that your Daddy is Jesus Christ. As anger eventually erupts - a liaison ultimately corrupts - a death in on the cards - and at the end of the day, nothing is ever the same again when they have to walk the longest yards.




THE REVIEW:
When I first sat down and watched 'Choke', I thought that it was going to be one of those jovial films where you see people sitting around in a therapy session and talking about their past sexual encounters. Now I'm sure you know the type of thing I'm referring to, folks. Something like that other Sam Rockwell movie, ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind’, where a tale was told in a rather pithy manner, which elaborated on a life not akin to the norm.

But no. I was wrong. I was very-very wrong. In essence, this film is more like 'Fight Club' for the sexually perverse. Telling a story that is rather novelistic in temperament, anarchistic in content, and alternate in execution.

Brad William Henke and Sam Rockwell in Choke
Admittedly, maybe this has something to do with it being based on an actual novel written by the same author of 'Fight Club', Chuck Palahniuk. Furthermore, I'm also damn sure this has something to do with it being about a deranged Mother and her sexual son, all wrapped up in dark humor and mental instability, complemented by the lucid voice-over narration of the main protagonist himself, Sam Rockwell.

Still, whilst saying that, does any of what I've just said make ‘Choke’ a good film or what? Hmm? Depends I suppose! It depends on your taste in crude filmic pleasure. It depends if you like crass sexual scenes that have the decency to hide away the naughty bits. It depends if you can connect to an old woman who does not know her own mind. And it depends if you can like a film that does not end but rather fade away.

Personally speaking, I enjoyed it for the acting because they were all so good in it. Rockwell plays a right screwball in that understated yet brash way of his. Huston has the charm and the cruelty of a woman suffering from Alzheimer's. Henke is the best pal we've all wished we once had. And MacDonald does a very good job at playing a woman who is both clever and nuts at the same time.


Stripper in Choke


Sam Rockwell in Choke
Here. Check out some of these filmic-facts for some back-story on this adventure: (1) '20th Century Fox' first screen this $3.4 million dollar production at the 'Sundance Film Festival' in June, 2008, and eventually clawed back $3.9 million dollars at the box office. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'Asphyxia' in Spain; 'Choking' in the Czech Republic; 'Suffocation' in Estonia; and 'Drowning' in Hungary. (3) Parts of this picture was shot on location in an around the American state of New Jersey, especially Essex County Hospital Center, 204 Grove Avenue, Cedar Grove. (4) This whole movie was shot in just three weeks, and was packaged three days before it was first screened at Sundance. (5) Chuck Palahnuik, who wrote the book this film was based on, is the person sitting next to Victor on the plane at the end of this movie. (6) The director of this flick, Clark Gregg, offered his wife, Jennifer Grey, the role of the naked woman who instigated Victors sex-addiction. She told him to... fffffuuu... err... I'm sure you know. (7) In the scene where Sam's character, Victor, was choking on some meat -- it wasn't meat -- it was a chunk of watermelon with some sauce on it. (8) Clark was an actor before he became a director, and his first role on television was as a stage manager in the eighties drama, 'Lip Service'. (8) Anjelica Huston didn't have to pretend to be sad in this movie, because her close personal friend, Michelangelo Antonioni, the director, died during shooting.


Angelica Huston in Choke


Overall 'Choke' is a really personal and alternate film. It's not crude or offensive. It is for the acquired taste. It's not for the light heated. But it is for those people who want to watch a good Sam Rockwell flick, that involves sexual acts and crazy old women. Don't you agree, YouTube video clip?




Bananas!

THE RATING: B+