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Chaos Walking (2021)

Review: written December 2021

Deep Idea given superficial treatment

Chaos Walking (2021)

Tom Holland plays the youngest of a group of settlers living an arable existence on a planet, which along with literal monsters out to get them, has more existential monsters too. On this planet, men’s own thoughts appear vocalised and visualised in a wispy cloud of activity around them. We are told women are not afflicted in the same way, but they have all been wiped out – that is, until a new wave of settlers is presaged by the arrival of Daisy Ridley. She finds herself the object of fascination by Tom Holland, fear and hate by others, who set out to hunt her down, her only hope the existence of a rumoured ‘other’ settlement.

The visible thoughts is a really interesting ‘What If’ idea, brought to life convincingly by special effects – however, that’s all that is convincing in this slight story. It’s satisfying when the spectacle of special effects gives way to intimate character building, but here the movie manages to be skimpy with both. As much as I wanted to warm to the idea, not least with the interesting cast, it never repelled, but actually took something potentially compelling and enlightening about the human condition – and made it rather boring and trite.

David Oyelowo survives with the most dignity left, but even his character- the religious man who tells everyone women don’t have visible thoughts because they don’t have a soul – is wasted.

A shame, but not one I will be recommending no matter how much I wanted to enjoy it.

Chaos Walking (2021)

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