CHOCH

4 Stars
Year Released: 2011
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 95 minutes
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Choch opens on a group of loudmouthed “bros” asking each other questions like “How many times have you gotten your dick wet?” and hitting on a girl walking with her boyfriend. Shotgunning beers and popping collars just comes naturally to these guys. And while you’re hoping and praying that none of these douchebags are the main characters, writer/director Brendan Prost has different plans for you.

The film follows Tyler (Zach White), a spiky-haired, sunglasses-donning dude as he struggles to find his place in the world. He seems stuck in this world of Ed Hardy shirts and thoughtless laughter and it’s not long into the film before his character becomes relatable and sympathetic. As he meets a girl (Stephanie Foran) and bonds with his dad, Tyler does a lot of soul-searching while trying to figure out just how real this caricature he’s become really is and if changing himself is an option. Can he just decide to become someone new or is he destined to stay the same unlikable kid forever?

The best scenes of the film occur between Tyler and a childhood friend who ended up in a different social clique (see: Hipster?). Unable to hang out with each other’s groups, they set up hang-outs on the down low—meeting at restaurants or alone at each other’s houses. They try to talk though each others (well, mostly Tyler’s) problems and both actors give believable performances without falling into any clichés or overly dramatic territory. Not unlike American History X or American Me, Choch shows that the pressures can come in any type of social group, not just the ones on the fringe of society. It makes you wonder if any of the Jersey Shore kids dream of getting out of “the life.”

The narrative leads up to a night out where Tyler is forced with making the decision he’s been avoiding for the entire movie. When two worlds collide, he finds himself at the middle and Prost handles it perfectly. Choch is a slow-moving film (shot in black and white, to boot) with a lot of introspection and contemplation but all of this self-examination never comes off as boring, especially not during this terrific ending scene. If you have a chance to see Choch, do yourself the favor and check it out.

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Posted on February 21, 2012 in Reviews by
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