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Havoc back to product details

Havoc, Indeed
written by talltale December 11, 2005 - 8:10 AM PST
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful
You know how, sometimes, a new film will bypass theatrical distribution and move directly to video? Or worse, directly to some cable movie channel for little-seen, late-night viewing? Once in awhile, the reason may be that the film in question is too unusual, surprising, or out-and-out brilliant to be properly understood by the industry "suits" who make these decisions. Unexpectedly, the suits got it right with HAVOC, which should have gone directly to some recycling bin.

This is shocking when you consider that the movie was directed by Oscar-winning documentarian Barbara Kopple ("Harlan County USA," "American Dream") and written by Stephan Gaghan ("Traffic" and "Syriana"). Talk about provenance (and then the pointlessness of provenance)! The movie attempts to address Southern California life in moneyed Pacific Palisades and poverty-ed east L.A., but gets everything wrong about the clash of culture, economics and character. Gosh, even "Crazy/Beautiful" captured this better. "Havoc" is SO bad--so stupidly imagined, written and directed--that it occasionally recalls "Showgirls," but without quite the requisite level of "camp" to push it over the top and into idiot greatness.

The performers all try hard (you can often see the sweat), but under the Sisyphus-ian rock provided by writer and director, all is lost. Clearly, Anne Hathaway is attempting to dump her goodie-two-shoes "Princess Diary" image, but even in that film she came across as older than her years. Here, she gets to show off her erect nipples but still looks like Hollywood's typical 30-year-old, would-be high school student. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, so brilliant in "Mysterious Skin," is lost behind his whiskers and drugged-out attitude. The only actor who seems remotely real is Matt O'Leary (from "Warm Springs") as the videographer. This is indeed one for the books, so you will be tempted to try it. Post-viewing (if you manage to finish the film), don't complain that you hadn't been warned.


(Average 6.40)
15 Votes
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