REVIEW | Futuristic ‘Chaos Walking’ hard to hear, though story is interesting – Manhattan Mercury

Posted: March 18, 2021 at 12:31 am

The obvious lesson for filmmakers in the new science fiction thriller Chaos Walking is that sound recording is especially important to a story about hearing.

The men of the Prentice Town emit clouds of smoke from their heads as they think. The smoke usually carries spoken versions of their thoughts not things they actually say with their lips. Sometimes the smoke carries pictures of people they are thinking of.

They live on an Earth-like planet in the future. When they first arrived, perhaps twenty years before, there were women in their party. But the men, led by fur coat-sporting Prentice (Mads Mikkelsen), killed all the women. The explanation for this is spoken in dialog during the movie, and I couldnt hear it. The volume was too low.

When the movie is mostly about characters whose thoughts we can hear, the quality of the sound reproduction is paramount. But Chaos Walking has talking mixed low, and enough talking on top of talking that just about anyone will have trouble making out what is going on in the film.

The story is based on a novel that is usually shelved with adolescent series books. Peter Ness, the author of the books about these characters, co-wrote the screenplay.

But he wasnt responsible for the sound. One has to blame director Doug Liman, who we know from his movies Go, The Bourne Identity, and The Edge of Tomorrow. He is a capable if not a brilliant Hollywood director. Chaos Walking is not one of his more satisfactory films.

Even if we cant hear all the dialogue, though, we can still enjoy the story. In it another large space ship has traveled 80-some years from Earth to bring more settlers to the heavily-forested planet on which Prentice Town is one of the current colonies.

The heat shield on a landing capsule from that ship does not function correctly (or something) and settler Viola (played by the chilly Daisy Ridley) has to survive the crash. She is found hiding (in a barn, of course) by Todd (Tom Holland).

The ruling party from town want to control Viola (for reasons lost in the sound recording). Especially anti-woman is firebrand Aaron (David Oyelowo). There is an American in the castpop singer Nick Jonas. Not that his character is in any way important to the plot.

Of course double-talking Todd helps Viola to escape the posse Prentice has gathered. Much of the film is a record of their traveling adventures. The only interesting scene is a fight between Todd and a one-armed representative of the blackened natives of the planet.

This seems as if it would be a great opening for a discussion of dispossession by conquest, among other issues. But the movie seems to ignore this big chance, if I heard it right.

The escaping pair land in a different village, one sufficiently hospitable that Prentices gang attacks it. And then the pursuit continues, eventually leading us to a technology repair scene (acrophobia prompting) and a duel at the climax.

No, theres probably enough story here, even if many of its elements will be familiar to movie-goers.

But the other problem with the film is that the cast doesnt include any likable actors. One doesnt sympathize with Ridley or Holland. The only actor one likes in the movie is the dog. Now guess what happens to him.

Read this article:
REVIEW | Futuristic 'Chaos Walking' hard to hear, though story is interesting - Manhattan Mercury

Related Post