The clash between men and women goes all the way back to the beginning of humankind and will surely continue into the distant future as the dystopian sci-fi in this 2021 movie, Chaos Walking.
It takes place in a remote corner of the universe, on the planet New World where young Todd Hewitt lives in a completely patriarchal society.
Coexisting in this all-male ecosystem is not easy because, on this planet, every man is affected by the so-called Noise, relentlessly revealing their every thought and instead does not affect women.
The boy works hard to gain the trust of David Prentiss, leader of this small community isolated in the forests.
Everything changes when a spaceship enters the atmosphere one day, crashing not far from their town.
Here Todd has an unexpected encounter with Viola, a teenage girl who is the sole survivor of the vanguard of another expedition due to arrive within days.
Prentiss wants to take over the spaceship and leave that cursed planet, where they all arrived many years earlier as colonists.
However, Todd does not accept that the boss forces Viola to confess the coordinates of the landing zone and then kill her, so they flee the city with all hands in pursuit.
Reaching another settlement, whose existence he did not even know existed, the boy discovers that actually many other women still exist on the planet.
Similarly, they learn all of Prentiss’s dirty secrets, who had slaughtered the entire female population of his town, including Todd’s mother, because he couldn’t stand for them to see his real intentions as dictator.
At that point, it is no longer just a mission to save the unlucky Viola but an actual war to restore peace and justice on that godforsaken planet.
Sci-fi Glimpse in a Voyage of Discovery
Chaos Walking is a 2021 movie featuring a mix of lights and shadows. However, overall, it succeeds in not disappointing viewers and, despite some flaws, maintains a delicate balance between narrative suspense and action with judicious use of special effects.
After the great success of Edge of Tomorrow, Doug Liman again achieves to create a captivating and compelling dystopian future, demonstrating his skill in sketching a fictional universe rich in psychological and social details and nuances.
The plot unfolds at a calibrated pace, taking the time necessary to introduce the characters and reveal the secrets of this planet.
Fortunately, despite the many action scenes, it avoids improbable excesses that could have been grotesque and out of place.
On the contrary, even in the many fight and shoot-out scenes, the characters show genuine humanity, making the story more exciting and believable.
Unfortunately, the same balance is not always present in the screenplay by Patrick Ness and Christopher Ford.
The men vs. women fight is effectively rendered; however, some issues remain strangely unresolved, such as the curious occurrence of aliens.
This element could have had a significantly more meaningful impact on the narrative; instead, it remains disappointingly marginal, with no further development other than a few hints and a strange encounter during the protagonists’ journey.
However, I struggle to understand the large half of the opinions I have read about this movie, beyond the usual macho or feminist ones who never like any story of this kind.
Indeed, others judged this kind of sci-fi as silly or dull, perhaps considering only explosive fiction like Star Wars or Star Trek worthy of the cinematic genre.
As far as I am concerned, it is my favorite Doug Liman movie, certainly better than the more widely appreciated first chapter of the Jason Bourne saga.
A Stellar Cast in a World of Intrigue
Chaos Walking features several characters of greater or lesser importance, yet four of them emerge as central and prominent figures in this 2021 movie.
In the middle of the action, we find the pair of young protagonists involved in an adventurous journey through an uncharted planet, combining adventure and romance in a combination always appreciated by audiences.
I confess to never having held a high opinion of Tom Holland, finding him an anonymous and not a very expressive actor.
However, in this case, his performance pleasantly surprised me. He successfully combines the weakness and ignorance of his character, manipulated since youth, with a dogged determination to discover the truth and fight for a just cause.
In contrast, at first, Daisy Ridley did not seem particularly suited for the role, despite the fact I already appreciated the actress from before, which I consider the best new addition to the new Star Wars saga.
Even here, her personality emerges strongly as her character gains confidence and finally begins to speak after a taciturn beginning.
Mads Mikkelsen gives a consistently convincing performance, lending charisma and power to his antagonist.
His character’s strength comes from the vulnerability of feeling exposed to women who hear his thoughts.
This madness is further over-the-top with David Oyelowo‘s excellent performance as the religious fanatic, whose unchecked ferocity makes him the most fearsome character in the story.
Overall, Chaos Walking is a 2021 movie offering a wide range of elements and situations that can appeal to a broad array of viewers.
Since it is easily accessible by streaming at an affordable cost, it would be a shame not to give it a chance.
The attempt is worth commending, if you are a fan of Sci-Fi stories attempting to stand out, while not fully succeeding in every aspect.