Review of 'Chaos Walking'

chaos_walking.jpg It is 2257 AD and on the planet New World it's colonist inhabitants live hard life without technology and have been afflicted by “the noise” which allows anyone close to hear their thoughts and also allows them to project images. Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) lives in the town of Prentisstown which is only inhabited by men with a strict mayor David Prentiss (Mads Mikkelsen) and sadistic preacher Aaron (David Oyelowo). When Todd discovers a crashed spaceship from the overly due second colonist wave he also befriends the sole survivor the young woman Viola (Daisy Ridley). He is surprised to learn that she is not afflicted by “the noise” and as he learns buried secrets that cause him to question everything he thought he knew.

This is a disturbing film on many different levels. “The noise” is particularly confusing, particularly in the early stages of the film where it is difficult to actually follow what is being said or thought as the voices overlap particularly when in the town. Of course, this is entirely intentional and puts the viewer a bit on the back foot, trying to make sense of it all much like how the lead character attempts to make sense of his world. It is mostly the story of a town being repressed by a totalitarian mayor hiding dreadful secrets (cue several creepy, gory scenes) from the compliant townsfolk but told in a SF-y way. Other than “the noise” the SF aspects never really come out until later in the film with the remainder being more like an old-west film complete with horses, farmers and homesteading.

Tom Holland is reasonable as the young man just trying to survive very much echoing his famous role as Spider-Man but it is very much a reactive role, serving as our window into the story. Similarly Daisy Ridley as the survivor of the crash is very much reacting to what is going on around her but has a feisty character that helps Holland's character to escape from the narrow world he lives in.

An interesting story that feels more like an episode from a television show than a film with fairly low-key performances and special effects but loads of action and some, perhaps predictable, surprises. It was OK but I wasn't really wowed in any way.

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2023-03-08

Directed by: Doug Liman

Studio: 3 Arts Entertainment

Year: 2021

Length: 109 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction

Other reviewed films by Doug Liman: