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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 6.67%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
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2 reviews, 3 user ratings

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Chaos (2003/II)
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by Brian McKay

"The old Bait and Switch gets a shiny new coat of paint"
5 stars

Hideo (RINGU) Nakata's KAOSU has the rare distinction of feeling both familiar and derivative, yet refreshingly original. Though it possesses elements of many genre counterparts that have come before (and since), its methodical pacing, non-linear narration, and twists within twists (within yet more twists) has its characters, and the viewer, running around in circles without chasing its own tail.

Tokyo businessman Komiyama (Ken Mitsuishi, Audition) walks out of posh restaurant, following his wife, Sayori (Miki Nakatani, Ringu) after paying the bill. Once outside, he finds that his wife has disappeared. He returns to work and receives a phone call demanding ransom for her return, and promptly calls the police. A detective (Jun Kunimura, seen more recently as Boss Tanaka in Kill Bill) tries to find a lead on the kidnapper, but with no initial success.

But as usual with a twisty-turny crime thriller like this, nothing is as it seems. It is quickly revealed that Sayori is in on the faux-kidnapping with a handyman named Kuroda (Masato Hagirawa), who helps her stage one of the most intelligent and well thought out fake kidnappings I've ever seen committed to film. Seemingly every detail is taken into account by Kuroda to make Sayori's kidnapping seem authentic - with the only detail he hasn't accounted for being Sayori's hidden agendas beneath the hidden agenda that he's been made privy to.

To give any more away would be a disservice, but one can expect to have their mind blown more than once while watching the out-of-sequence narrative unfold. Although some scenes are initially confusing or seemingly superfluous, their meaning and importance will become shockingly clear in light of later revelations - as long as you've been paying close attention. The cast is uniformly solid, especially the stunning Nakatani as the plotting wife, and Hagirawa as her clever but bemused accomplice who finds himself mixed up in something a whole lot deeper than he wanted to be. Best of all, there are no clumsy chunks of expository dialogue, as there so often are in this kind of film. The viewer is left to unravel the sequence of events, and interpret their meaning, for his or her self. It's the kind of film that easily warrants repeat viewings so that one can catch all the clues they've missed the first time.

Predictably enough, CHAOS is already being remade for Western audiences and is slated for a 2004 release, since Hollywood apparently can't make a movie these days that isn't a retread of an old TV show or a (usually superior) foreign film. But hey, they didn't screw RINGU up, so maybe they won't destroy this one either. Do yourself a solid, though, and watch the original version first (something I wish I'd done with RINGU).

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originally posted: 04/04/04 10:49:58
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User Comments

8/09/09 suresh worths seeing 4 stars
7/21/04 Mark Louis Baumgart You can't just watch it once. Watch it twice and be blown away. A dark Japanese gaillo. 5 stars
3/07/04 C. Hernandez Great movie. Lots of twists and turns. Has to be seen more than once. 5 stars
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  07-Mar-2003 (NR)



Directed by
  Hideo Nakata

Written by
  Hisashi Saito

  Masato Hagiwara
  Miki Nakatani
  Ken Mitsuishi
  Jun Kunimura

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