Chaos
New Yorker Video // R // $29.95 // December 16, 2003
Review by Matt Langdon | posted January 3, 2004
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version
Movie:
Chaos is a woman's picture in much the same way that a plank of wood is a weapon, which is to say it works fairly well in a blunt kind of way.

Malika (Rachida Brakni) a woman of Algerian birth has been forced into a life of prostitution and has been put in the hospital by a couple of thugs who are trying to get money out of here, which she has inherited from one of her super rich clients. She is befriended by another woman named Helene (Catherine Frot) who witnessed her beating but along with her husband did nothing to help her. Out of guilt Helene leaves her job and her husband to stay in the hospital and look after Malika, whom she suspects is in trouble.

Malika slowly recovers and then is taken from the hospital by Helene when her life is threatened by the two thugs who put her there. Once Malika has completely recovered she tells Helene her story and the two set out to get revenge on the pimps who got her into her mess.

But Chaos is not only a fast-paced woman's revenge flic. It is also a battle-of-the-sexes comedy that delves into the incompetence and weakness of men. Helene's husband is a loutish businessman who dismisses her as well as his own mother. Helene's son is a chip off the old block in that he shows disrespect for mom and also happens to have two girlfriends whom he treats as objects. In some ways Helene gets revenge on the two of them by leaving them alone to fend for themselves. It's also fun to watch a amusing revenge-like twist of fate when each of them individually meet Malika unaware of who she is - and fall in love with her.

The DVD box has a quote comparing Chaos with Run Lola Run and Thelma and Louise. The comparison with Run Lola Run is way off base. The only reason I can think why anyone would compare the two is because both films deal with a woman and both are fast paced thrillers. Otherwise there is absolutely no connection with the stories. However, there is a bit of a connection with Thelma and Louise for obvious reasons although Chaos is less symbolic and more from the gut.

Chaos is in French with English subtitles and is directed by Coline Serreau who shot the entire film in video. The acting is good although the women characters are the only ones given any depth. The film has a fast pace, good suspense and a good theme about woman bonding together to fight against the oppressive patriarchy that has kept them down for so long.

Video:
The film is shot in video and looks it. It does not seem to have been transferred to film but the image is letterboxed in an aspect ratio of 1:66:1 and is 16/9 compatible. The images have a flat video look and other limitations of video such as sharp contrasts in light and a cool look. Otherwise the image is sharp.

Audio:
The audio is in Dolby stereo and sounds good. It features a good soundtrack by Ludovic Navarre of St Germain.

Extras:
There is only a theatrical trailer.

Overall:
Chaos is a fast paced entertaining film about a prostitute and a housewife who get revenge on the men in their lives. The DVD is bare bones but it is worth a look if you want to see a mainstream French film as opposed to a purely art house one.



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