To say that Clark Greg’s inaugural opus, Choke, is strange does not do it justice. Just ask the old lady who sat a row behind me in the theater and continually exclaimed, “This is just so . . . weird,” in five minute intervals throughout the entire movie. She’ll tell you. Really, ask her.
Having read the book before seeing the film, I had a pretty firm understanding of what was to come. The basic story revolves around Victor Mancini, the sex addicted period re-enacting son of a severely demented mother suffering from Alzheimer’s. Confused yet? Just wait, it gets better. He also dropped out of medical school. Oh, and he has a best friend who starts a rock collection to build a monument to nothing. Also, his mother always thinks he’s someone different. Yeah, it’s involved.
I wondered after reading the book how anyone would ever be able to make it into a movie. Chuck Palahniuk, the book’s author, commonly involves several differing story strands that tie in to one large, dramatic revelation in the end. If you have no idea what I’m talking about watch the first movie made from one of his books, “Fight Club”. It is a prime example.
The good news is that what makes “Choke” confusing is also what makes it great. As a viewer you find yourself perpetually meandering around in Victor’s confusing life wondering what it all means. Like most people, I am all too familiar with this feeling and therefore found myself connecting with the character through all of his most bizarre foibles. Greg also manages to keep the interpretive nature of the ending in tact so that even when the film reaches a conclusion you will still find yourself asking what has happened. Some people may find this to be too much work, or simply too . . . weird, much like the lady sitting behind me. To those people I have to say, “Pipe down. I’m trying to watch the movie.”