Chaos Walking is set on a different planet, New World, 2257 AD.
Earth has been abandoned because everyone left behind David Attenborough, Brian Cox and Greta Thunberg after they kept blabbering about the environment, and the sane amongst us decided they’d like a bit of peace and quiet.
However, when it comes to this new place, your thoughts can be heard by everyone, so it’s bit like What Women Want with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, crossed with a Western, but with visible thoughts.
It’s based on the Young Adult scifi (yes, it’s YA time again) novel trilogy, which begins with The Knife of Never Letting Go, although for this film, the knife just pops up a handful of times to get Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland – Cherry) out of tricky situations, or just doing something cool like killing a crawler (like a giant cockroach) with his knife as it crawls up a tree, and gives it to his dog to eat. Also, the film borrows from elements througout the trilogy, rather than attempting to be the first in a proposed trilogy.
In a town run by Mayor Prentiss (Mads Mikkelsen – Arctic, Polar), some men can ‘hide their noise’ better than others, but Todd’s still struggling to keep a check on his. However, he can sometimes turn his thoughts into a vision, so, imagining a snake and then making it jump out at the annoying mayor’s son, Davy (Nick Jonas), proving Jonas still can’t act.
Todd and others have never seen a real woman because they’ve all gone, all killed by an alien enemy known as the Spackle, who released a killer germ which they created in a lab in Wuhan… maybe.
However, a new team of space-based travellers are about to Bart their world by introducing women, but the thought procress doesn’t appear to affect the female of the species.
Of the new visitors planning to arrive, Todd chances across the resourceful Viola (Daisy Ridley – Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker), and with Prentiss sniffing out a woman in his midst, the pair have got to go on the run to the next town, Farbranch, while Viola – ultimately – wants to contact her mothership so she can get off this rock.
David Oyelowo pops up as a preacher, Aaron, but his character comes across as rather surplus to requirements, since he may as well just be another of Prentiss’ men. There’s a deleted scene which actually puts him in a church, but beyond that… nope.
For those curious about the title, it’s based on the quote, “The noise is a man’s thoughts unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking”, but an unknown New World Settler.
Maybe there’s much more deeply-plotted story to uncover in the novels, but for all its futuristic bent, this film adaption is ultimately just a silly chase movie, and plays out as one, which feels rather a waste of the concept, especially with the pedestrian resolution to both the film and how to deal with the baddies.
The picture looks great, as you’d expect for a modern release, while the audio side of things is also fine, but nothing in particular stands out, as it feels more like a Western, as I said earlier.
The extras including an audio description track, and are as follows:
- A Director’s Noise (18:10): Director Doug Liman talks us through his feelings while making the film, with additional comments from other cast and crew members. The comments are all added as audio-only to the B-roll footage in the background, so I presume they were done during lockdown.
At one point, Liman says how the script originally written by Charlie Kaufman…. maybe it would’ve been better that way.
- Inner Thoughts with Patrick Ness (9:03): Author/co-Screenwriter Patrick Ness talks about how the world has been getting louder and louder in general, so what if we had a world where you could hear peoples’ thoughts? Other crew members also share their thoughts, but they appear on camera this time.
- The Source of the Silence (7:18): Daisy Ridley discusses making the film.
- Citizens of Prentisstown (10:09): Life in the initial location before they move on.
- The Music of Chaos Walking (4:17): Both composers talks about their work on the film.
- Deleted Scenes (45:01): 7 scenes, with optional commentary from director Doug Liman, producer Alison Winter, Editor Doc Crotzer. Some of them go on rather long, and I flicked through those. I wasn’t big on the film, as you can see, so I didn’t need to see every last second of what wasn’t included.
- Audio commentary: with director Doug Liman, producer Alison Winter, Editor Doc Crotzer
The menu mixes film clips with a piece of the music, there are subtitles in English, and 16 chapters.
Running time: 107 minutes
Distributor: Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Released: May 31st 2021
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH
Widescreen: 2.39:1 (ARRIRAW (6.5K))
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Doug Liman
Producers: Doug Davison, Allison Shearmur, Erwin Stoff, Alison Winter
Screenplay: Patrick Ness, Christopher Ford
Novel: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Music: Marco Beltrami, Brandon Roberts
Todd Hewitt: Tom Holland
Viola: Daisy Ridley
Mayor Prentiss: Mads Mikkelsen
Ben: Demián Bichir
Aaron: David Oyelowo
Cillian: Kurt Sutter
Hildy: Cynthia Erivo
Karyssa Hewitt: Bethany Anne Lind
Davy Prentiss, Jr: Nick Jonas
Matthew: Ray McKinnon
Daws: Vincent Leclerc
Young Todd: Blane Crockarell
Charlie: François Gauthiér
Hammer: Tyrone Benskin
Mr. Phelps: Frank Fontaine
Tam: Don Jordan
Ivan: Patrick Garrow
Julie: Mylène Dinh-Robic
Gault: Julian Richings
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.