Chaos Walking is based on Patrick Ness’s eponymous YA trilogy which is established at the beginning of the film with the line from the books, “The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.”
Starring Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley, it is a science fiction western set on a colonized planet, where men's thoughts can be heard by others, that's a fertile starting place for a genre film, and the premise is intriguingly visualized by Ness, co-screenwriter Christopher Ford, and director Doug Liman, with characters' thoughts and feelings swirling about their heads in a purple-blue, wreath-like haze that evokes scientists' models of how airborne infections are spread. Every character with this affliction suggests a mood ring when seen from a distance. There are shots of angry mobs where you can see their bad thoughts pulsing. We also hear individual thoughts in snippets of voice-over narration, popping in and out of conversations in the manner of an anxious comic book character's thought balloons ("Keep walking, keep walking," "Don't let them know she's in the barn!"). This is all referred to as "Noise."
When it comes to confrontations, the movie wimps out, putting more effort into New World-building than in the largely generic characters who populate it. That’s true of the “alien” ones as well — although technically, this planet belongs to the Spackle, and the humans are the invaders. “Chaos Walking” features just one interaction with this indigenous species, whose repulsive design leads one to wonder how “Avatar” would have gone over if the Na’vi were presented not as sexy blue cat-creatures but ugly tree-monsters.
The visualization of thoughts is well-realized and charming to watch, initially feeling a little like a pointless exposition but soon settling into a useful plot device. We are given hints about characters' histories in a way that feels organic, and at times the noise is used as a weapon as well as a hindrance.
Chaos Walking is not without its flaws, we are introduced to an alien species, but this never really goes anywhere. All the true conflict is against other humans, and as this seems unlikely to get the sequels it was originally designed to have, the introduction of the aliens feels like a pointless segue. The ending is anticlimactic, and again a lot of time is spent building a world rather than building a plot. This film is weaker for the fact that it is unlikely to get its sequels.
However, the acting was fantastic. Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland were outstanding in their roles and kept the story engaging and entertaining from start to finish. The visuals of the movie were also great. The "Noise" was one of the most fascinating aspects of the movie and added to the humor and drama of the story.
Chaos Walking isn’t just one genre of film. It is sci-fi, drama, thriller, and western all at once. The multiple flavors of Chaos Walking add a lot to making it a well-rounded and very creative and unique film.
Final Score – [6/10]
Reviewed by – Ritika Kispotta
Follow her @KispottaRitika on Twitter (https://twitter.com/KispottaRitika)
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