review by Bobby Blakey
There has been a lot of talk about all the production issues and delays with the film Chaos Walking since it finished production in 2017. I believe there were even reports that one cut was unwatchable according to the studio so seemed it was never going to get released. That all changed with a trailer and release date announced. Now the film is here starring Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, Mads Mikkelsen, Demián Bichir, Cynthia Erivo, Nick Jonas, Kurt Sutter, and David Oyelowo from the The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman. Could this film defy thoughts and deliver or will it be something not worth thinking about?
Chaos Walking follows the not too distant future where Todd Hewitt discovers Viola, a mysterious girl who crash lands on his planet, where all the women have disappeared and the men are afflicted by “the Noise” – a force that puts all their thoughts on display. In this dangerous landscape, Viola’s life is threatened – and as Todd vows to protect her, he will have to discover his own inner power and unlock the planet’s dark secrets.
The issues this film went through in test screenings, reshoots and then trying to get released in a pandemic era is a story in itself, but it also leads you to believe that this film is going to be a major train wreck. Surprisingly it works more than it doesn’t with a finished film that didn’t fully showcase any of its struggled past. I actually enjoyed this film quite a bit more than I had expected as it sets up a bigger story, but could no doubt frustrate some.
The heart and strength to this film are Holland and Ridley who are great together. They have great chemistry and offer up excellent performances throughout. The supporting cast are good as well, but this film is all about them. The story is interesting and well executed in regards to keeping it moving and even most notably how they visually work “the Noise” to effective use. I will say as someone that is hard of hearing I recommend closed captions if you have that option to help better hear these elements as they are purposefully chaotic and I struggled to understand them at times, but it’s my issue.
Where it faulters for me is in some of the pacing and story elements that seem
to be either rushed or just thrown away. There are so many elements to work from here as they establish this universe and a clear intent to hopefully do more, that it often times feels rushed. There are times where you are getting into the building of a character or situation and then it suddenly moves on and leaves elements unresolved. One of the more intriguing involving a new character that clearly plays a bigger part in connection to Ridley and the rest of this world, but is gone almost as soon as it arrives.
In the end the film still worked for me as a whole and entertains. I wish the action had been amped up a bit more, but it is what it is. There is no doubt that this film will not work for some, but I dug it. I have my doubts about it getting the clear franchise it was hoping for thanks mostly to the state of theaters right now and it making the cash it needs to justify it, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to see where it could go next.
Decide for yourself and check out Chaos Walking in theaters now.