Choke (2008)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Choke</strong> (2008)

(In theaters, September 2008) Chuck Palahniuk’s novels are so extreme that any adaptation that doesn’t completely screws them up has already earned a small victory, and so Choke‘s most notable achievement is how it does remain relatively faithful to the novel, translating a good chunk of its sociopathic charm onto the big screen, graphic sexual addictions and all. Sam Rockwell is rather good as a lead character whose obsession for casual sex only matches his habit of fake-choking in high-end restaurants in order to earn strangers’ gratitude and financial help. A suitably strange cast of characters surround him, from a paranoid mother to a curiously amorous doctor to a friend who can’t keep his hands off himself. Fortunately, it remains an amusing film throughout, even when the story appears to take a turn toward the fantastic with the suggestion that the protagonist is a clone of Jesus. Fans of the original novel (one of Palahniuk’s tamest) will be surprised to find out that most of the book has been faithfully adapted to the screen, at the exception of the ending which proves to be less satisfying than the one in the book. While this film won’t make as big an impression as Fight Club did, it’s an adaptation with which Palahniuk and fans can be relatively happy… and that’s already quite remarkable.

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