Review: Chaos Walking (2021)

From the director of The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow and based on the best-selling novel The Knife of Never Letting Go comes the Lionsgate movie Chaos Walking.

PLOT AND STORY 

In the not too distant future, Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) discovers Viola (Daisy Ridley), 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.

As someone who never read the book I went into this movie knowing nothing about its premise or story so I will review this purely on what I watched. Screenwriters Patrick Ness and Christopher Ford overall created a movie which had some interesting concepts and some intense action scenes but did lack some rationale behind many of the movie’s key plot decisions. The movie breaks down into two halves, the first being the foundations for the new world, meeting the main characters and learning a little about the phenomenon which makes everyone hear your thoughts. The second half being the arrival of Daisy Ridley’s character Viola, her meeting with Tom Holland’s character Todd and their escapades on the run from the rest of Todd’s community. Both halves of the movie work in their own way even if the opening hour did feel quite slow and somewhat boring. The movie really picks up for the second hour once Viola arrives. 

The thing that really bothered me was connecting the two halves together as I don’t feel this was explained very well at all. Todd and Viola are on the run, we know this from the trailer so it’s not really a spoiler but what I found myself asking a lot was why? Why were they on the run? Why were the others chasing them? It feels like there was a section in the middle missing which could have easily been included at the sacrifice to some of the opening hour.

PRODUCTION AND DIRECTION 

When I saw Doug Liman attached as director I was excited. Go and Bourne Identity are two of my favourite movies and Liman is one of a few directors I can honestly say hasn’t directed a bad movie (yes I enjoyed Jumper and Mr & Mrs Smith) and I would still stand by that with this Chaos Walking. No, this isn’t one of his best, but it’s still not a bad movie.

I believe movies filmed on location always look better than green screened and this is another example of that. I know there are no relic spaceships in real life but you can tell that this movie was mainly filmed outside, with natural light and real settings and credit to cinematographer Ben Seresin. Some of the scenes with Todd and Viola in the woods look stunning and are framed in such a way to make a worrying situation look beautiful. I felt this was intentional as a symbolic symmetry about the blossoming relationship between Todd and Viola while running for their lives. This was quite reminiscent of the original Hunger Games movie.

CAST

There are three main characters worth talking about and a handful of support characters played by familiar faces if not household names.

Tom Holland plays Todd Hewitt, a young, somewhat wet behind the ears farmer’s son struggling to find his way in the new world. Tom Holland is one of the hottest properties in Hollywood right now after shooting to stardom playing Spiderman. Here he gets to show off more of his acting talent in a slightly more mature role and gives a believable and emotional performance. 

Equally as hot property right now is Daisy Ridley of Star Wars fame playing Viola. Another good performance as a sheltered, reserved, duck out of water character. Much of Ridley’s performance was her actions and expressions rather than her words and this worked really well creating good on screen chemistry with Holland’s Todd.

Labelled as the villain of the movie is Mayor Prentiss played by the ever dependable Mads Mikkelsen. The movie doesn’t really explain why he is the villain which was one of the issues I had with this character but that being said Mikkelsen gives it all to the role and makes a great villain. His calm persona and soft voice offers so much more ferocity than someone screaming and shouting.

The supporting cast includes Demián Bichir, Cynthia Erivo, Nick Jonas, Kurt Sutter, and David Oyelowo.

FINAL THOUGHTS 

Chaos Walking will more than likely fall into one of those ‘OK’ movies. It’s a big budget, star studded movie beautifully filmed which is sadly let down by a screenplay with too many plot holes. The cast do the best job they can to make this a good movie and will keep people engaged and entertained throughout. 

I watched this via Sky TV store and received no incentive to review this movie. All images and artwork are courtesy of Lionsgate films and their respective owners.

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