by KJ Proulx
This is a film that was likely doomed from the start, but nobody knew that. After years and years of delays due to reshoots, Chaos Walking is finally available on-demand. More than anything, it ended up being a very frustrating watch for me, simply because the entire film was a cool concept, but it never ran anywhere with it. With a cast as good as this and a concept this inventive, I expected much, much more. Here are my thoughts on Chaos Walking.
On a planet where the only human survivors are men, with not a single woman in sight, these people must deal with the fact that this planet has given them what they refer to as “noise.” This in turn puts the mind of every single man on display. Every one of their thoughts is heard out loud unless they’re able to suppress it. As Todd is going about his day, he stumbles across Viola, a woman who is the only survivor of a ship that has crashed on this planet. Since he knows his way around, she uses his thoughts as a map/guide to find her way around. This set-up was great, and the film’s idea hooked me from the start, but it’s almost as if the second half of the film didn’t know where to go.
Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley both deliver solid performances here and I enjoyed their early comradery. They were the glue that held the movie together overall but with supporting performances by David Oyelowo, Mads Mikkelsen, and a couple of others that I won’t ruin in this review, it should have been so much better. By the time the third act started, I began to wonder where the plot was really going. By the end of the film, I simply didn’t care about any of the consequences, due to the fact that it goes in a very generic and simple direction.
I honestly don’t know what happened here in terms of writing either. I admit that I haven’t read the novel that this film is based on, but this is the prime example of why certain films need to be adapted in certain ways. Creative liberties need to be taken in order to fit the narrative of a movie and I don’t believe that happened in the right ways here. With the talents of both Patrick Ness and Christopher Ford penning the screenplay, both of which have multiple projects I have loved in the past (A Monster Calls, Cop Car), I just found myself wondering if they had too much interference when writing. There are so many things that went wrong during the production of this film, which is too bad because it had a lot of promise.
Overall, I’m very disappointed, to say the least. I was very much looking forward to this film, not just because of who was involved, but because I really liked the idea as well. The cast, the direction by Doug Liman, and the overall concept all worked very well for me, but I never connected with anyone and the movie felt empty by the end. This is just another film that has a lot of build-up to nothing and probably won’t ever see a sequel either. I wish this story had a better film to go along with it. It’s not that it’s a terrible movie, in fact, I thought most of it was okay, but the second half of the movie just didn’t explore enough. Chaos Walking is now available on-demand.
Check out the trailer below: