‘Chaos Walking’: science fiction with a message that does not finish channeling its hodgepodge of genres and ideas
Possibly the most disappointing detail of ‘Chaos Walking’ is not in its cast, its plot or the general feeling of being in front of a film that wastes a good part of its proposalsbut in the presence of Doug Liman as director. Liman is a director capable of shooting absolutely devastating action sequences, both in great films (‘The Bourne Identity’, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’, the magnificent ‘Edge of Tomorrow’) as in other more irregular but equally estimable (‘Jumper’, ‘Barry Seal’).
Here, however, his brilliance seems buried under a production that does not quite find a defined toneAnd you can’t decide between teenage romance, planet exploration adventure, or rural dystopia. There is something of the best Liman in the energy with which many of the chases are posed, or in the decision to have Tom Holland do his own. stunts (It is clear that it has future action star wood), or in vibrant shots here and there (a subjective rifle, some motorized chases at hellish speed …)
However, something is missing from the set. Possibly the main culprit is the screenplay by Christopher Ford and Patrick Ness, based on a bestselling trilogy of novels young adult written by the second: the characters are not completely defined, and the motivations of the two heroes are enigmatic more because of crudeness in the writing than because of a voluntary decision to endow them with a certain enigma. And above all, the gimmick of adventure (men have no private thoughts) is not fully exploited.
‘Chaos Walking’ tells of the accident landing of a ship on a planet that was colonized decades ago. The only survivor, Viola (Daisy Ridley) discovers that there are only men on the planet and that due to a strange phenomenon that only affects them, their thoughts can be heard – and seen. Her presence arouses suspicion, so a young rancher from the colony, Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) will have to take it upon herself to protect her.
Walking chaos, but less
Actually, it is not surprising that the film has such a doubtful identity, that it does not finish deciding between the sympathetic drama of waking up to adulthood and adventure survival slightly futuristic: this is a project that Lionsgate It has been dizzy for ten years in pre-production and for five with this protagonist couple in particular (when they both became youth stars).
Later, it was the result of countless comebacks and had the misfortune to stumble upon the pandemic, which condemned her to new delays, until it is released on a date still semi-hidden like this week, when it hits theaters in Spain. Possibly due to these traces many questions remain unanswered (although the footage lasts almost two hours), and they leave that feeling that we are being shown a huge world that is explored only on the surface.
Why can some men control their thoughts and others not? Why, in fact, do we sometimes see them and other times they are ubiquitous? What happens to the rest of the planet’s inhabitants, both colonizers and the native species, about whose aggressiveness -or not- only some enigmatic brushstrokes are given? Why did the women disappear? What happens in the end? They are obvious questions, which are in the same statement of the story, but about which little is investigated.
‘Chaos Walking’ is possibly just the first leg of what Lionsgate hoped would become a sci-fi adventure saga in the vein of ‘The Hunger Games’, but times have changed. And there are interesting elements in the film: hints of successful humor, a genuine intuitive and innocent magnetism between the protagonists, Mads Mikkelsen’s fur coat, the dog and other punctual details. But even the suggestive feminist message runs low on a film that would have needed some of the energy of the best Liman.