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Wednesday, October 01, 2008
I saw the movie adaptation of once-and-forever Portland literary king Chuck Palahniuk's Choke over the weekend in a packed theater at the Fox Tower. I read a copy of the source material a few years ago and it's one of the author's more, how do you say, "all over the place" tomes. The book covers topics ranging from religion to zoos to the mental health care system to restaurant scams to the overbearingly strict policies at colonial theme parks to the proper application of anal beads to...I could seriously come up with another 300 of these.
The movie makes the mistake of trying to cram the entire book into its too-short running time and suffers for it. A subplot involving an empty lot and a huge stack of stolen rocks is never resolved and it seems like every scene introduces a new plot element. I can't imagine that anyone who hasn't read the book would be able to make any sense of Choke once a certain doctor starts making claims about the main character's long-lost father. The result feels more like an episodic series of funny vignettes about a group of extremely screwed-up people than a coherent film.
Another problem: Anjelica Huston is both too youthful and too wrinkly to play the part of Ida. She's too young to portray a doddering elderly woman and far too old to play the same character in a series of flashbacks to the '70s. Still, the cast does the best they can with a packed script and Kelly Macdonald is perfectly cast as Paige.
In other news, I'm still waiting on that film version of Survivor.