Choke Year: 2008

Writer: Chuck Palahniuk (novel), Clark Gregg (screenplay)

Director: Clark Gregg

Budget: $3 million (estimated)

Gross: $2 926 565

movies based on books.  this is a topic for discussion all in of itself. should the movie be completely true to the book? should it use the book as a starting point and go from there? is the "essence" of the book the most important thing for the movie to capture? that is however a discussion for another day - or possibly the podcast - whereas today we are talking about one film based on a book which i have read called, Choke.

i have to say that i really loved the book when i read it years ago and it is the only chuck palahniuk book i have read. although, based on that one and the movie Fight Club (also based on one of his books) i do want to read more of them.

normally, i don't really like movies based on books i have read. ya, i am always excited to see them, but then i often end up disappointed, and i think that is a pretty common response to films based on books one has read. however, i liked Choke and it i think, in an odd twist of fate, it is because i read the book. let me explain....

i read Choke at least 4-5 years ago and given that it has been so long, while i remembered the basic story and some plot points, it wasn't all completely fresh in my mind as it would have been had i say, just finished the book within the last few days.

why i think this helped, was that it allowed me to fill in some of the gaps in the script without also being completely wrapped up in noticing everything that they were leaving out from the book.

I think the film and the script do do quite a good job of capturing the essence of the book and covering the important parts, but there are some parts of the movie that are just covered a lot more heavily in the novel (which makes sense given the different mediums).

for example, the time spent on the main characters relationship with his mother growing up, or with his friend who has decided to stop masturbating and what he does instead - these are two examples of areas the film examined a lot more superficially then the novel did, but i found myself thinking i understood those relationships and the characters better then i probably should have, and i realized it was because i was adding to the movie in my head from what i remembered from the book. but, like i said before, i didn't remember enough specifics to be focused on what they left out overall.

i tried to think about the film without those biases, and i would recomend it even for those that haven't read the book. but i would be curious as to how they saw the film without the gap filling and depth provided by the book.

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