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Despite Jerry Lewis, French Comedy Lives
Wrt./Dir. Coline Serreau
Str. Catherine Frot, Vincent Lindon, Rachida Brakni, Aurelien Wiik
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Catherine Frot plays Helene Vidal, a mother and wife locked in a fast paced, meaningless life. But when she and her husband (Lindon) almost run over a whore (Brakni) all of that is about to change. Chaos is a surprisingly light comedy based on a very dark foundation. One of it's charms is that it concerns such deep subject matter as prostitution, rape, murder but never lets them overtake the true subject of the film, which is one of human relations, and the nature of love, and resentment, and resignation. Nor does it allow these subjects overtake the fact that the movie is a comedy.

Frot is absolutely perfect in her role. She delivers a spot-on-comedic performance, so dry and subtle that it takes a good 45 minutes to realize that she is the entire driving force of the film. Rachida Brakni is stunning and deliciously cold as the advantageous Malika. And Aurelien Wiik along with all of his friends provides the most delicious batch of eye candy since White Squall.

Almost all of the faults of this movie can take its title as their excuse, which is why I think it was called 'Chaos' in the first place - Serreau wrote with such hectic erratic strokes, She need a way to justify it.
"It looks like your editor was on crack when he worked on some of these sequences."
"That's not crack. That's Chaos."
"I'm a little confused as to what exactly motivated Malika to do most of the things she did."
"That's not confusion. That's Chaos."
It's kind of like calling your movie 'Pile of Crap' so you can claim artistic license when it sucks.

But even these are not truly faults, per se, as every time the movie twists around, or throws a heap of confusion your way, it's hilarious and a thrill to watch. Chaos is the first French film in years that feels truly original and well made.

I'm giving it Three Snobbish French Hipsters. Chaos gets high marks for its energy. It tries very hard to keep you interested in both the plot and the character - and succeeds on both fronts, the story is as interesting as its characters are dear. And while the movie makes a few too many sudden left turns, it is, over all, excellent.

--B.C. Edwards
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[email protected]freewilliamsburg.com | February 2003 | Issue 35
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