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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Chaos (review)

Shockingly violent and surprisingly funny, this French thriller about women exacting all manner of vengeance on the men in their lives — who are abusive on all kinds of scales — is a delicious antidote to moviedom’s typical characterization of women as simpering victims. The unlikely team of Hélène (Catherine Frot: La Nouvelle Eve), ignored and taken-for-granted housewife, and Noémie (Rachida Brakni), prostitute and recovering heroin addict, plot the ruin of the latter’s monster of a pimp (Wojtek Pszoniak) in a way that thwarts all filmic clichés of both the housewife and the hooker, in the process smashing the madonna/whore dichotomy that usually informs the depiction of women in mainstream movies. But make no mistake: this is no inscrutable arthouse fil-um — it’s a rousing, nail-biting, edge-of-the-seat revenge truffle that, were it not for the subtitling that seems to turns off mainstream moviegoers, would play to packed multiplex houses. Cuz there’s barely a woman alive who doesn’t crave a little retaliation against crimes great and small that men commit.


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MPAA: not rated

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
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