Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual content and language.
Directed By: Marcos Siega
Written By: Daniel Talplitz
Staring: Ryan Reynolds, Emily Mortimer, Stuart Townsend, Sarah Chalke, Mike Erwind, and Constance Zimmer
A movie about an obsessively organized efficiency expert whose life unravels in unexpected ways when fate forces him to explore the serendipitous nature of love and forgiveness is a lot to swallow in one breath. But what Chaos Theory succeeds at is manipulating this story base and makes for a compelling/interesting character piece. If you can get past that lofty premise for the story, the cast should at least perk your interest. Emily Mortimer and Stuart Townsend are stand up actors that can make any character interesting and Sarah Chalke is one of the best female comedic actors out there. The lead role is headed by Ryan Reynolds who is unquestionably the man of the hour. This was a risky role for him, but it paid off showing he isn’t just a pretty face meant for RomComs.
Frank Allen is a man who structures his life around time efficiency, organization, and rules but finds himself falling prey to the butterfly effect. One small event in his life became the catalyst for a vast array of strange misunderstandings, awkward circumstances, and random events beyond his control. As his life spirals away from structure, he is confronted by realities only days before he would have laughed at the possibility of happening. Eventually, he gives in and embraces chaos and lives his life by the random choices he creates on index cards.
The idea itself may have been something all of us have contemplated at one time or another. When life suddenly turns away from our careful plans, and the unforeseen or unfathomable happens, we often question how much control we do have over our lives and what part fate and free will actually plays. Chaos Theory takes that idea to the tenth power, and while some of the main character’s actions are over exaggerated for entertainment purposes there is a certain level of honesty in Franks reactions and behavior that is uncomfortably easy to relate to.
Some of this movie will have you laughing hysterically, and some of it will have you squirming awkwardly in your seat. At some point it emotes too much intensity and takes some of the misunderstandings a bit too far. Generally the director, Marcos Siega, does balance the drama and comedy well, but it becomes difficult to adjust to character or plot transitions that just don’t seem to balance out. One second it’s slapstick comedy, then an intense reflective moment, then a sweet adoring love moment. It happened a lot and just took away from the stories reason. If chaos was the intent, it was successful, but didn’t work as a smooth film.
The original concept and way it was explored was what intrigued me about this film and it certainly delivered in that capacity. The performances were noteworthy and the characters captivating. The pacing and choppy nature in which the film was composed made it difficult to stomach at times, along with the extremes the plot was taken to, but was essentially forgivable. Chaos Theory was a film worth a good once around, but hardly secondsies.