Starring: Sam Rockwell, Kelly Macdonald, Anjelica Huston
Director: Clark Gregg
Running Time: 92 mins
Choke is an American film about a sex addict who, besides his work at a colonial-era theme park, participates in addiction clinics and periodically fakes choking to get money from strangers in order to pay his mother’s hospital bills.
This is a really frustrating film. Despite the wealth of talent in front of and behind the camera, Choke is a movie that never really seems to do much, cobbling together a few ideas that don’t gel particularly well, and do little to strike up great laughs or any especially interesting drama.
Let’s start with the positives, however, because while this film certainly doesn’t deliver on most fronts, the performances do at least bring a degree of energy and charisma to the table. Sam Rockwell in particular is a great lead, and while co-stars Kelly Macdonald and Anjelica Huston play up some of the film’s odder tendencies, Rockwell is genuinely likable as a fairly unorthodox man.
As a result of that, you do ultimately want him to succeed and do well in the face of all the troubles bearing down upon him in his life, and that at least brings a degree of connection to the heart of the story, where Rockwell begins to develop an unusual relationship with Macdonald, who works at his mother’s hospital.
The problem, however, is that that heart of the story isn’t given all that much attention, as Choke also spends a lot of time focusing on Rockwell’s choking habits to help his mother, and his sex addiction clinics.
The movie does tie all the different parts of his character’s life together in some way or other, the screenplay still feels horribly disjointed, and the movie struggles to really show you where it’s going at any time, almost feeling as if there’s no real point to it.
Perhaps it’s better not to always follow the formula of a generic romantic comedy, as this could have been, but I’m afraid to say that Choke is a film which tries something different, and doesn’t quite pull it off, ultimately proving a far more frustrating watch than an entertaining once. So, that’s why I’m giving the film a 6.3 overall.