Linda Cook review: ‘Chaos Walking’ is an average young-adult tale of dystopia

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It could have been so much better. But it could have been so much worse.

“Chaos Walking,” the latest young-adult dystopian tale, based on the best-seller “The Knife of Never Letting Go,” is part of a long line of such movies – think “Hunger Games” and “Divergent.”

In this one, it’s 2257 on a planet similar to Earth. All the transplanted residents have what is known as “The Noise” – that is, all their thoughts can be heard aloud unless they go through mental gymnastics to disguise what they’re thinking.

No women were affected that way. But then, there are no women.

Todd (Tom Holland, “Spider-Man: Far From Home”) has some vague memories of his mother. He farms with Ben (Demián Bichir, “Land”) and Cillian (Kurt Sutter, “Sons of Anarchy.”)

The leader of the region is Mayor Prentiss (Mads Mikkelsen,” who can keep a cap on his thoughts at all times.

When a woman arrives, it’s, well, chaos. Viola (Daisy Ridley, “Star Wars – Episode VII”) was dispatched, along with other astronauts, to see how things are going in the new world.

With Viola’s arrival comes Todd’s realization that Prentiss may not be the benevolent hero Todd thought he was.

The Big Reveal really isn’t. You’ll figure it out long before the characters do. I never bought into an entire community being able to keep something for so long from so many.

 Holland is a capable performer, as is Ridley – in fact, this is a really good cast wasted in a so-so movie.

The sets and the cinematography are enjoyable, and I like the idea of a futuristic Western. But too many holes exist in the overall environment.

It’s serviceable, but not memorable. And certainly not worth making much noise about.

2 stars

Rated: PG-13 for violence.

Running time: One hour and 49 minutes.

At Cinemark, Davenport, and Palms 10, Muscatine.

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