In the not too distant future, Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) discovers Viola (Daisy Ridley), a mysterious girl who crash lands on his planet, where all the women have disappeared and the men are afflicted by “the Noise” – a force that puts all their thoughts on display. In this dangerous landscape, Viola’s life is threatened – and as Todd vows to protect her, he will have to discover his own inner power and unlock the planet’s dark secrets.
From the director of The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow and based on the best-selling novel The Knife of Never Letting Go, Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland star with Mads Mikkelsen, Demián Bichir, Cynthia Erivo, Nick Jonas, Kurt Sutter, and David Oyelowo in Chaos Walking.
Warning, minor spoilers ahead.
Chaos walking follows Todd Hewitt, played by Tom Holland, and Viola played by Daisy Ridley on a quest to reunite her with her people. We start on a planet only known as the new world roughly 250 years in the future. the film starts off with not much of an explanation as to why all of the men can hear each other’s thoughts and see them. We’re told it’s called “the noise”.
We quickly pick up on the fact that there are no women and the story we were given is that a native species called the spackle on this planet killed all of the women. Mads Mikkelsen plays the mayor, who is clearly hiding a secret. But another firey force is David Oyelowo who plays Aaron, who I can best describe as a religious zealot.
The film drones on far too long before getting to its point and even when we meet Viola and things start to pick up it still drags on for much too long before we start to get answers to the world that we are in and why they are there. Many of the themes that we see are common tropes of dystopian future earth or other earth stories. Like men losing their mind in a world they don’t understand. Settlements with secrets and generations taught lies and not told the truth about how they got there.
The biggest issue with this film comes in zero attachment to any of the characters. While the idea of hearing and seeing thoughts of just the men is at least somewhat unique as a plot point, we don’t really care. It’s an afterthought to the overall story and in fact, we don’t even really care about the alien species that was mentioned to have killed all of the women. We finish the story only ever having met them once and never even having consideration for them in the future. The only death we mourn is the dog. Which by the way will be missed.
Chaos Walking is a campy dystopian future world that can be fun in its own right but lacks an overarching ‘world building’ story plot that keeps you engrossed in the world or characters. Now, this speaks of nothing related to the book in which it is based, as I have not read it. But the film as it stands right now doesn’t feel like a franchise starter.
We recommend this as a Saturday night movie to watch on a paid cable channel or perhaps a rental through your paid streaming channel of choice. Chaos Walking hits theatres on March 5th.