Chaos

"OK"

Chaos Review


Coline Serreau's Chaos is never quite sure of what it wants to be. The story of a Parisian woman who becomes involved with a prostitute fleeing a gang of pimps, the film could easily be summarized as a cat-and-mouse thriller. On the other hand, it's also the comical story of the same woman's bumbling husband and son, who - once she takes off on the lam with her new hooker companion - can't perform even the simplest household tasks without female supervision. And yet, more than anything else, it's a social drama about seemingly powerless women fighting back against a male-dominated society that physically and psychologically beats them into submissive roles. Wildly careening between crime drama, French farce, and woman's picture, the film frequently seems to be on the verge of splitting at the seams. But even if Chaos is hampered by a desire to be all things to all people, Serreau's nimble touch bestows this schizophrenic genre pastiche with an infectiously zany verve.

Hélène's (Catherine Frot) loveless marriage to Paul (Vincent Lindon) comes to a head when, while returning home from an evening out on the town, a hysterical hooker (Rachida Brakni, in a mesmerizing debut performance) throws herself on the hood of their car while attempting to escape a trio of savage attackers. Instead of trying to save the woman, Paul instinctively locks the doors, thus allowing the men to finish dishing out their brutal beating. When the assailants are done, Paul - a paragon of twenty-first century male insensitivity - is more interested in cleaning his windshield of prostitute blood than tending to the savagely beaten girl lying next to his shiny new sedan.

Paul's callous inaction, however, is the last straw for Hélène, who promptly abandons her husband and son Fabrice (Aurélien Wiik) - chauvinists who believe that women are primarily useful for sex, cooking, and ironing (in that order) - and takes up residence in the hospital where the injured streetwalker, Noémie, now lies comatose. Hélène dedicates herself to nursing the girl back to health, but soon finds that the men who brought Noémie to the brink of death are intent on finishing the job. Desperate to protect her newfound charge, Hélène helps Noémie escape the clutches of her pursuers, and the two take temporary refuge at the seaside home of Paul's oft-neglected mother. Once she is fully recovered, Noémie recounts her miserable life story to Hélène, a tale that includes her father's attempt to sell her to a wealthy Algerian, her strung-out time on the streets trading sex for money, and her use of stock-market savvy and feminine wiles to con a dying millionaire out of all his money. Noémie and Hélène, although forced to endure different types of male-propagated suffering, are clearly kindred spirits.

As the two women plot their revenge against those who have done them wrong, Chaos' elaborate story begins to resemble Serreau's anxious digital video camerawork and frantic cross-cutting, which reaches an apex of high-flying nervous energy during the extended flashback sequence in which Noémie narrates her ludicrously convoluted past to Hélène. But the recurrently absurd shifts in tone, rather than sabotaging the narrative's cohesiveness, instead give the film a dissonant, madcap energy that does much to smooth over the screenplay's two-dimensional characterizations of women as victims (or sly feminist avengers) and men as egotistical dolts whose subjugation of women masks a desperate reliance on them. Serreau takes pleasure in launching into narrative flights of fancy - there's nary a plausible moment in Noémie's stock-trading escapades - and it is the film's greatest asset that the story doesn't tidily conform to the rigorously logical demands of reality.

Still, for all its inspired lunacy, Chaos can't stop harping on the narrow-minded idea that the only relationships between men and women are functional business transactions, where the pimp/whore dynamic is synonymous with that of husband/wife and boyfriend/girlfriend. As a result, the film's commentary on women's secondary position in modern society holds no resonance; it's as unbelievably cartoonish, and yet not nearly as pleasurable, as the film's humorous subplots (the best of which involves the two-timing Fabrice getting his just deserts at the hands of his fiancé and paramour). The unreasonably drawn out finale finds everyone getting what they deserve (for good or ill) and learning some pat lessons about life and love. But the fun isn't in Serreau's heavy-handed affirmations of estrogen power - it's in the story's restless, realism-be-damned chaos.

Chaos -- insane!!!



Chaos

Facts and Figures

Run time: 106 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 15th December 2005

Box Office Worldwide: $10.3 thousand

Budget: $12M

Distributed by: Rogue Pictures

Production compaines: Mobius International, Chaotic Productions, Current Entertainment, Rampage Entertainment, Pierce-Williams, Zero Gravity Management, Epsilon Motion Pictures, Möbius Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 20%
Fresh: 1 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Det. Quentin Conners, as Det. Shane Dekker, as Lorenz / Jason York, as Capt. Martin Jenkins, as Det. Teddy Galloway, as Det. Vincent Durano, as Karen Cross, Rob LaBelle as Bank Manager, as Det. Bernie Callo, Damon Johnson as Brendan Dax, as Harry Hume, as Marnie Rollins, as Gina Lopez, Ty Olsson as Damon Richards, as Chris Lei, Ken Medlock as Officer MacDunner, as Pretty Waitress, Michasha Armstrong as Xander Harrington, as Lamar Galt, Garvin Cross as SWAT Commander, as Det. Thomas Branch

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

Advertisement
The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Partisan Movie Review

Partisan Movie Review

With his feature debut, young Australian filmmaker Ariel Kleiman tells a creepy story about a...

The Revenant Movie Review

The Revenant Movie Review

A wrenching saga of survival and revenge, Alejandro G. Inarritu's new epic is just as...

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who simply can't be ignored, especially when he lobs a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.