Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Trending On Empire
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time!
Empire's Guardians Of The Galaxy Cover
Does Star Wars Have A Brain Trust?
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
Subscribe: 6 Issues For £15!
Subscribe today and save 37% off the cover price!
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Click poster to enlarge
More posters to select

Sam Rockwell
Kelly Macdonald
Anjelica Huston
Joel Grey.
Clark Gregg.
Clark Gregg.
Running Time
92mins minutes

Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon
4 Star Empire Rating
Love Me Till Monday
3 Star Empire Rating
3 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating
Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie
1 Star Empire Rating

A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
5 Star Empire Rating
Rebel Without A Cause
5 Star Empire Rating
5 Star Empire Rating
Wake In Fright
5 Star Empire Rating

Historical theme parks, Heimlich Manouvres and sex-addict meetings

submit to reddit

A sex addict (Rockwell) pays for his ailing mother's (Anjelica Huston) medical bills by faking choking attacks in restaurants and taking money from the people who 'save' him and want to look after the life they preserved.

Browse more images »

After the critical and cult success of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, it’s surprising that it’s taken almost ten years for a follow-up. But then, Choke is a different proposition. The book is a dense, layered affair, alternately bubbly and brooding, and was never going to be easy source material for a movie. First-time director Clark Gregg plumps for humour over horror, allowing his film to fall between the stools of social satire and off-kilter love story, and utilises Palahniuk’s droll dialogue whenever he can in a series of self-effacing voiceovers that star Sam Rockwell delivers with aplomb. He, and the rest of the stellar cast, are the film’s saving grace.

Sex addiction is big business in the , though to Victor Mancini (Rockwell) it’s just another string of his abandonment-issues bow. Victor spends his days playing the part of a lackadaisical servant at an historical theme park, when he’s not skipping sexaholic recovery meetings to screw a fellow addict in the bathroom.

To confuse issues, his mother’s fading mental health and the cost of her private hospital are crippling him, so to supplement his income he’s been faking choking fits at plush restaurants so that he can be saved in a series of Heimlich Manoeuvres and then milk his wealthy saviours for all they’re worth.

Anjelica Huston is magnetic as Mancini’s ailing mother Ida, both as a fading invalid or vibrant and deranged in flashback. She is the hook on which her son hangs his hopes and anxieties. Kelly Macdonald plays love interest Dr. Paige Marshall, whose veneer hides as many cracks as Mancini’s, but while they shine as an ensemble, it’s Rockwell’s sleazy yet self-effacing turn that steals the show. It’s not easy to like an addict of any kind, but Rockwell makes him almost lovable, flaws and all.

Still, the weaknesses in Gregg’s script and direction show through as the film shifts from one story strand to another without any real sense of pace or resolution. One subplot, that Mancini might be the Messiah, makes the film feel more like two halves than one whole. That was never a problem with the book, and makes you wonder why Gregg chose such a knotty novel as his first directing source.




An uneven take on Palahniuk’s fourth novel, Rockwell and Huston shining brightly enough to eclipse a patchy directorial debut.

Reviewed by Philip Wilding

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Choke
Empire Star Rating

Choke is fabulous. An impressive movie.

Sam Rockwell made a great job as Victor and Kelly Macdonald made a superb work as Paige. Huston was also impressive as Victor's mother. Gregg's screenplay of Chuck Palahniuk's novel, which is one of my favorite novels, made total justice to the book. It's not like other book-page-to-screen tragic adaptations. It's visionary, satirically dirty, funnily sexy and stunningly smart. Verdict: It may not be "Fight Club", but, still Clark Gregg's "Choke", oh, my God!, is a perfect mo... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 02:28, 26 November 2008 | Report This Post

RE: Choke

]Choker]/left]It All About?nbsp;ictor (Sam Rockwell) is a Med School drop out with a lot on his mind, mostly woman. This being because he is a sex addict and also that his mother (Anjelica Huston) is in a hospital where she is refusing to eat, he then makes a radical choice on how to pay for a feeding tube. He pretends to choke on food allowing himself to be saved by an upstanding member of society, of whom he expects will help him out with his living expenses. When not doing this he is working... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by matthewforan at 14:37, 25 November 2008 | Report This Post


Sounds like Rockwell saves the day here. Recently finished reading the book and it was great. It was really funny and and when I heard Rockwell was playing Victor I thought he was a great choice. Definitly still going to watch this, but I won't set my expectations too high so I may be plesantly surprised. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jack'sSmirkinRevenge at 04:19, 17 November 2008 | Report This Post

You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list

Film Studies 101: Ten Movie Formats That Shook The World
The pre-digital innovations that formed modern cinema

Exodus: Gods And Kings: Ridley Scott's Trailer Breakdown
The director talks us through his enormous Biblical epic

Jay Baruchel Talks How To Train Your Dragon 2
From The Human Centipede to the origin of 'Useless reptile'

Spotify Playlist: Now That's What I Call... Richard Linklater!
The Boyhood director has a soundtrack for life

Empire At EIFF 2014: Elijah Wood Q&A
See highlights of our Edinburgh chat with the actor

The Empire Podcast #118: Keira Knightley And Dean DeBlois Interviews
The Begin Again star and How To Train Your Dragon 2 director pop in for a chat

Watch: Industrial Light & Magic's Greatest Hits
From Star Wars to Transformers, we run through some of the best individual moments from the special effects masters

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time Subscribers' Cover

Subscribe today and get the cover and 3 issues for only £10!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £18!
Special 25th anniversary offer for one month only! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)