Chaos Walking gives a visually striking look into the men of New World’s minds, but the secrets they keep out of The Noise leads to a predictable story. The film takes on the fascinating task of showcasing the male characters’ outer monologue and their inner thoughts and emotions. The Noise is the thing that commands the screen in Chaos Walking.
“It’s one of the main characters,” confirms Nick Jonas, who portrays Davy. “During our scene preparations, we all thought about the subtext of what you say with your expression, but not out loud. It’s an internal dialogue that’s externalized.”
This dystopian story brings us to a new planet where humans are trying to find a place to live. When early settlers came to the planet, they discovered that crossing through the atmosphere altered their minds and made every thought they had available to everyone around them. The Noise drove the men insane because it didn’t affect the women at all.
Jeff White, visual effects supervisor, has created with The Noise an element that becomes a key character in Chaos Walking. With each character, you’ll notice that their noise looks and reacts differently. The men with dark minds have layers of black and flares in their Noise, almost like fire, but Todd’s is pure with purple and blue.
“The audience will experience what’s happening in the characters’ heads,” White says. “We wanted them to understand, right away, the importance of The Noise and what it was revealing about New World. The Noise becomes a part of that world; it becomes a physical thing. Each character’s noise is unique.”
Daisy Ridley plays Viola; the first girl Todd has seen since his mother died. When her ship crashes on New World near Prentisstown, a settlement of only men that try desperately to hide their noise, she can feel that something isn’t right here. Being born in space makes it hard to understand her surroundings on New World, but she still harbors empathy for the native inhabitants.
The natives, called the Spackle, on New World weren’t explored as much as I would have liked in Chaos Walking. Todd was told that they killed all the women, so he has an ingrained distrust and hates for them. Much like racism is seeded into the youth here on Earth. The native that Todd and Viola encounter also has Noise like the men. After a brief interaction, we don’t see them for the rest of the film. Perhaps that wasn’t a staple in The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness, the story that Chaos Walking is based on, but the series is a trilogy and could have played a heavier role that I’m not sure of because I haven’t read the books.
Unfortunately, this lack of disconnect with the Spackle and the overbearing men of Prentisstown make the plot twist pretty clear from the start. Everyone, including the audience, seems to understand before Todd does. While this was a predictable story, The Noise is what held my attention most in this movie.
The Noise allows the men to do some pretty interesting things with their minds including projecting thoughts into realistic representations. This is how Noise becomes more than just a visual cloud around the men’s heads, and transforms into an important aspect of the story.
Of course, if you’re just looking for a shot of Tom Holland’s bare butt, then you’ll leave happy. 😉
Chaos Walking is in theaters now and available for at-home rental on April 2nd.
In Prentisstown, Todd has been brought up to believe that the Spackle released a germ that killed all the women and unleashed Noise on the remaining men. After discovering a patch of silence out in the swamp, his surrogate parents immediately tell him that he has to run, leaving him with only a map of New World, a message, and many unanswered questions. He soon discovers the source of the silence: a girl, named Viola.