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Chaos Walking (12A)

Cast: Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, Mads Mikkelsen, Demian Bichir, Cynthia Erivo
Genre: SciFi
Author(s): Patrick Ness, Christopher Ford
Director: Doug Liman
Release Date: 02/04/2021
Running Time: 109mins
Country: US
Year: 2021

In 2257 AD, orphan Todd Hewitt lives on New World with his adoptive fathers Ben Moore and Cillian Boyd. There are no women in the community, which is controlled by mayor David Prentiss, and the thoughts of the men are visible as a cloud-like noise. A spaceship crash-lands close to the settlement and Viola Eade is the sole survivor. As a woman, whose thoughts are concealed, she poses a grave threat to Mayor Prentiss' dictatorial rule. Todd goes on the run with Violet.


 

LondonNet Film Review
Chaos Walking (12A)

If innermost thoughts and base desires were exposed as gaseous audio chatter around our heads, we’d probably be driven mad by the unfiltered cacophony. Prejudice, intolerance, jealousy, lust – all shamefully broadcast as unvarnished and discomfiting candour to friends, family and passing strangers. Thinking out loud is commonplace in director Doug Liman’s dystopian sci-fi thriller. Crudely torn from the pages of the first book of a young adult trilogy penned by Patrick Ness, Chaos Walking harnesses slick digital effects to realise a nightmarish world stripped of privacy…

Ness and co-writer Christopher Ford surgically remove nuances and emotional complexities evident on the page of The Knife Of Never Letting Go and opt for bombastic, action-oriented storytelling that neutralises any possibility of an audience engaging brains. Characters’ motivations are rendered in broad, simplistic strokes and a futuristic battle for fractured hearts and minds becomes another blushing pretender to The Hunger Games’ cinematic crown. Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland abandon the Star Wars and Marvel Comics universes to lend their undeniable star wattage to a murky, misguided adventure that crudely stitches together action sequences and forcibly wrings crocodile tears by threatening the life of a cute canine. “Weakness rots from within,” notes the film’s glowering villain. Physician, heal thyself.

Orphaned runt Todd Hewitt (Holland) lives on the mid-23rd century planet of New World in the exclusively male settlement of Prentisstown with adoptive fathers Ben Moore (Demian Bichir) and Cillian Boyd (Kurt Sutter). The women, including Todd’s mother, were killed by the indigenous species, the Spackle, abandoning grief-stricken men to their thoughts, which are audible and visible as a swirling, iridescent cloud-like noise. Mayor David Prentiss (Mads Mikkelsen) has mastered the art of silencing his stream of consciousness, which allows him to exert control over the townsfolk.

Faint flickers of resistance are snuffed out by his hot-headed son David (Nick Jonas) and the righteous indignation of a preacher (David Oyelowo). A spaceship crash-lands close to Prentisstown. The sole survivor, Viola Eade (Ridley), isn’t cursed with the noise and her stoic silence poses a grave threat to the mayor’s iron-fisted rule. “If you want to protect the girl, you have to leave now,” Ben urges Todd, inspiring his ward to go on the run with Violet and pet dog Manchee.

Chaos Walking clearly signals its intentions, as if afflicted by the noise, and propels Todd and Viola on their blood-soaked odyssey without giving us one compelling reason to care about the fugitives. In brief moments when Ridley and Holland can flex dramatic muscles, they elevate the muddled material. Set pieces including a motorcycle chase and river rapids escape are solidly engineered but devoid of tension. Dispel any fanciful thoughts of Chaos Walking sowing the seeds of a franchise. Liman’s picture is creatively barren.

– Jo Planter


London Cinemas Showing Chaos Walking


From: Friday 16th April
To: Thursday 22nd April

From: Friday 23rd April
To: Thursday 29th April

No cinema infomation at the moment

UK and Irish Cinemas Showing Chaos Walking


From: Friday 16th April
To: Thursday 22nd April

The Mallard Cinema, The Mallard Hotel

Fri/Sat/Wed/Thu 16:30 19:00 (Fri/Sat); Sun/Mon 14:15 16:30 (Mon)

From: Friday 23rd April
To: Thursday 29th April

No cinema infomation at the moment