Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Chaos Experiment: Movie Review

The Chaos Experiment (Philippe Martinez, 2009)

Six actors are locked a steam room. This sounds like a good set-up for a joke or a new R. Kelly song but it doesn’t make for too good of a movie.

Val Kilmer continues slumming in the “direct to video” world along with staples Armand Assante and Eric Roberts. Kilmer plays Jimmy Paris, a nut who shows up at a newspaper office with a wild story of global warming and testing peoples’ limits. He spends the rest of the film feasting on scenery with Detective Mancini (Assante). Kilmer narrates a tale of how he locked up a group of people in a steam room under the guise of a dating service. He's like Jig Saw from the Saw movies if Jig was down with Club Med.

Eric Roberts leads the steam room group in killing one another and themselves. The poor group has literally two sentences of motivation with which to work. They play things out like every other “we’re trapped in a confined space” thriller (Headless Body in a Topless Bar, Cube, etc). The only thing missing is that their antics are being broadcast on the internet--something screenwriter Robert Malkani already did with the 2005 film Dot Kill (produced by The Chaos Experiment’s director, Philippe Martinez).

The steam room scenes are cross-cut with the police interrogation, helping to make The Chaos Experiment all the more disjointed. Though beautifully filmed and with plenty of mentions of Detroit (it was shot in Grand Rapids), there’s little else going for the film. This experiment has failed.

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