First of all, I should probably point out that Choke - Chuck Palahniuk's novel on which this film is based - is one of my favourite books, so there's an element of bias to this review, since unless they'd made an absolute pig's ear of it, I would feel obliged to give it full marks.
In actual fact, this is a pretty faithful adaptation of Palahniuk's book and as a movie it works well. Starring Sam Rockwell as Victor Mancini, a sexaholic who pretends to choke in restaurants in order to generate funds to meet the escalating costs of his mother's hospital bills, it explores a myriad different themes and ties them all together into a surprisingly moving, darkly funny tale of love, escapism and the power we have over our own destinies.
Like the book, Choke contains some fairly sordid moments, but they are balanced by scenes of a strange pathos - especially those between Victor and his ailing and deluded mother. The film benefits immensely from a strong cast, which includes Anjelica Huston, who is simply superb as Ida Mancini and Kelly McDonald (Trainspotting, No Country For Old Men) who just broke my heart as Doctor Paige Marshall. Brad William Henke, meanwhile, is almost precisely how I had envisaged Denny - another sex addict and Victor's best friend whose transformation over the course of the film is central to Choke's message.
It's certainly not going to be to everyone's taste, but this is a daring and, in places, downright hilarious film that succeeds in capturing Palahniuk's twisted vision. If you have no prior knowledge of the book, or of Palahniuk's work, I recommend it nonetheless - but be prepared: despite the promotional taglines, it's not quite what you might expect. And, in my opinion, all the better for it.