Chaos Walking brings a fast-paced dystopian world into a heartfelt narrative about human nature

Todd Hewitt and Viola Eade walking through the New World.

Promotional material courtesy of Lionsgate

Todd Hewitt and Viola Eade walking through the New World.

“Chaos Walking” released on Mar. 5, 2021, brings a fast-paced dystopian world into a heartfelt narrative about human nature. Dubbed as a rendition of Patrick Ness’s 2008 novel, “The Knife of Never Letting Go,” fans of the book can’t help but feel as though the movie does not meet expectations. However, the short film features consistent plot twists and brief comedic scenes, creating a well-rounded movie to help pass the time. 

“Chaos Walking,” stars Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) on a planet called the New World. Hewitt discovers there is much more to his secluded life when he finds Viola Eade (Daisy Ridley). Eade, a product of an exploration striving from Earth, finds Hewitt in the year 2257 A.D. as her shuttle crashes while experiencing an unexpected descent in the New World’s atmosphere. Upon her arrival, she notices many differences between her normal life and the life in Prentisstown where she crashed. The town is made of early colonizers from Earth, however, the women sent with them appear missing. In the New World, the mens’ thoughts are projected in a flurry of colors known as noise. The movie follows Eade and Hewitt’s journey as they discover the dark secrets of the early colonizers’ exploitation of the New World. 

Holland and Ridley provide life to a rushed plot through exceptional performances. Holland interworked comedic spurts throughout the film while playing Hewitt, a teenage boy who sees a girl for the first time. Ridley brings an emotional feel to the movie through recollections of her past and exhibiting her wide range of facial expressions and emotions added to every scene. The acting has a perfect mix of conveying the intended emotions and is not too forced.

While the acting is exceptional, the film is rushed. The plot is underdeveloped with many glaring holes. The film jumps through scenes with minimal explanation of how they arrived at the new scene leaving the viewer to rely on minimal knowledge of what has occurred. Furthermore, the film ends like a romanticized Hollywood movie where the antagonists are magically defeated, and the protagonists make it out okay. Everything has gone according to plan. On top of this, the film doesn’t create viewer insight into what the characters’ lives look like in the New World after they accomplish their goal, leaving the viewer wanting more. 

Furthermore, the soundtrack rendered subpar to current standards. The movie featured sweeping views and fast-paced action, yet seems to consistently come short when choosing music. The soundtrack for each scene is generic with minimal thought put into original productions. When the movie included the slightest bit of suspense, the music choice ruined it with an overly tense song that takes the viewers’ attention away from the scene. 

This said, the movie still portrays valid messages circulating an underlying theme of sexism. Throughout the film, it shows various examples of overt sexism with the male settlers showing feelings of superiority towards the women. The film combats this with Eade’s character. Eade serves as a strong female protagonist battling the apparent obstacles that she faces as a woman. 

While the film fails to meet the expectations of the novel, it is still an enjoyable watch. With a good theme and stellar acting, I would give the movie a 3.5 out of 5.