Based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club), Choke is a dark and wickedly funny joyride from the depths of sexual compulsion to the heights of the Second Coming! Beside working at a colonial reenactment theme park and trying to hook up with everything on two legs, sex addict Victor Mancini courts the love and money of complete strangers via a demented con that might just kill him. But first, Victor must save his dying, delusional mother (Angelica Houston) by seducing and impregnating her comely physician, a task easier said than done, in this gleefully twisted tale of dysfunction, salvation, love, and libido.
Not many movies about addiction and terminal illness can end up comedies, but Choke pulls it off. Protagonist Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell), a disgruntled, unrepentant sex addict, works at a cheesy colonial theme park, while his dying, addled mother Ida (Anjelica Huston) thinks he's her lawyer instead of her son. Ida's doctor Paige (Kelly Macdonald, Trainspotting, No County for Old Men) says the only way Victor can save his mother is to impregnate Paige for a controversial stem-cell treatment--and according to his mother's diary, Victor himself is the result of a questioable fertility experiment with a particularly intimate holy relic...by now you may have recognized the darkly satirical hand of author Chuck Palahniuk, whose prickly comic novels (Snuff, Invisible Monsters, Lullaby) smash taboos with brutal glee. Choke doesn't achieve the broad cultural scope or cinematic spectacle of Fight Club, but fans will find plenty to enjoy--consider Choke a more intimate examination of Palahniukian themes. Rockwell, star of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Matchstick Men, always seems on the brink of true stardom; here he gives another freewheeling but emotionally rich performance that will add to his offbeat but compelling repertoire. The strong supporting cast, including Joel Grey, Brad William Henke (Me and You and Everyone We Know), Bijou Phillips (Hostel: Part II), and screenwriter/director Clark Gregg (The Adventures of Sebastian Cole, Spartan), flesh out Palahniuk's caustic yet funny world. --Bret Fetzer
Stills from Choke (Click for larger image)