Movie review: Choke (semi-spoilers)


We saw Choke on Saturday. This was the book that got me hooked on Chuck Palahniuk.

David Fincher did such an awesome job with Fight Club, though the box office draw for it was low. So Clark Gregg had quite a challenge ahead of him: do artistic justice to a really good, but really tough, book, and still put some butts in seats.

For opening weekend, it was only on one screen in town. We went to a 4:25 showing, and the 67-seat theater was almost full.

Gregg's version is very commercially viable. It's short (run time is around 90 minutes), and he managed to get an R rating on it (the book is very NC-17).

He didn't have an easy time of it, but he did.

I clearly am not alone in thinking it was an OK interpretation.

Palahniuk fans are, admittedly, a hard bunch to please.

I went with someone who had not read the book, and the only Palahniuk she was familiar with was Survivor, which looked like it was going to be optioned as a film, but, well, 9/11 happened, so no more airplanes crashing on purpose for a while.

She was very conflicted about the movie, on a "I really shouldn't like this, but I kinda do" level.

I enjoyed it on a "this is entertainment, and I'm glad I spent an hour and a half in a theater watching it" level (especially with the dinner that followed).

But, yeah, it was an OK interpretation. Victor bottoms out in a much different place, and the intricacies of the choking scam aren't fully revealed. For me, that was really the brilliant part of the character – that he's got a really good ledger system for it, despite the fact that he's a royal screw-up in most other parts of his life.

Anyway, see it. If you enjoy movies, see it for the diversion. If you enjoy Palahniuk for the art of Palahniuk, see it because if you want more of his books to be optioned, this needs to do well.


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