In Prentisstown, Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) has been brought up to believe that the Spackle released a germ that killed all the women and unleashed Noise on the remaining men. After discovering a patch of silence out in the swamp, his surrogate parents immediately tell him that he has to run, leaving him with only a map of New World, a message, and many unanswered questions. He soon discovers the source of the silence: a girl named Viola Eade (Daisy Ridley).
Take a shot every time Tom Holland says “I am Todd Hewitt” in Doug Liman’s newest feature film Chaos Walking. Actually, don’t, because if you did, you’d absolutely die of alcohol poisoning. And although it is definitely extremely annoying to hear him say it over and over again, it is the least of this movie’s problems.
Liman is a director that I genuinely adore. Throughout the span of his career, he has worked on some amazing movies such as The Bourne Identity, Edge of Tomorrow, and American Made. He’s a director that knows what he is doing behind the camera, and each film that he has directed has a distinct feel to it. But for whatever reason, Chaos Walking does not feel like a Doug Liman movie. In actuality, it doesn’t feel like anybody directed this mess.
Chaos Walking feels like an endless series of confusing and boring events that lead to absolutely nowhere. I started to get worried when I was about thirty-five minutes in and I realized that really nothing of substance had happened yet. So you can imagine how disappointed I was when I finished the entire film and still felt as though I didn’t get anything out of it.
The script here is easily the biggest problem. Patrick Ness and Christopher Ford took this interesting concept that stemmed from the source material and did nothing with it. There is no excitement anywhere to be found in this story which is a big shame because the concept is actually quite interesting. This should have been a fun and thought-provoking journey, but sadly, it came across as hollow and meaningless.
Also, in this film, it is said that Daisy Ridley’s Viola Eade is the only woman around and it’s why every guy that sees her is so amazed. They’ve never seen a girl before. So, it begs the question – why is Cynthia Erivo’s Hildy Black in this movie? She is a woman too, yet none of the male characters here bring that up.
Easily the film’s biggest strength lies within its lead actors, Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley. Both of them are hugely talented people and they have proven time and again that they know what they’re doing in front of the camera, and with Chaos Walking, it’s no exception. They deliver genuinely good performances in an otherwise bland movie that really doesn’t make a lot of sense when you stop to think about it.
Every time I watch a really bad movie starring phenomenal actors, I always wonder why they agreed to be in the film in the first place. Is it because they just needed that extra bit of money? Is it because they actually thought the script or story sounded good? In the case of Chaos Walking, it’s hard to say exactly what was going through Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley’s minds, but at least they had fun while making this film. It’s just a shame that the movie itself did not match the excellence of their talents.
Overall Grade: D
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and language
Directed by: Doug Liman
Distributed by: Lionsgate
Release Date: March 5, 2021
Running Time: 109 minutes