The Chaos Experiment is tragic for many reasons: physical proof of the decline of Val Kilmer’s career, a reminder that Armand Assante isn’t Odysseus, a reminder that Eric Roberts isn’t a talking cat, and as a perfect illustration of decent ideas gone horribly wrong.
Val Kilmer plays an escaped mental patient (just how easy is it to escape from a mental ward? And did he really escape or did he check himself out?) who has presumably locked six people in a steamroom with the intent of killing them as an example of how global warming will kill humans in 2012. Because we know he’s a mental patient (and we’re reminded with many shots of Val Kilmer standing on a merry-go-round), it’s unclear to us and to the cop grilling him (Armand Assante) if A.) He’s making it up, B.) It already happened or C.) It’s happening in real time, which is Val Kilmer’s story. The questioning of Val Kilmer by the cop is cut with scenes of the people trapped in the steamroom, who go insane surprisingly quickly. The last time we see them, only two people are left, the other four dead either by murder or suicide. Eventually, the cop decides that Val Kilmer has made the whole thing up and has staff from the mental hospital he was in come pick him up. In the end, we see a doctor checking on him, and the doctor is played by the same guy who played the last man alive in the steamroom. He then talks to a woman, presumably his wife, played by the same woman who played the last woman alive in the steamroom. So did it happen and these are the survivors? Did he make it up and just use people from real life in his imagination? We don’t know and, unfortunately, I don’t think the filmmakers know, either. A lot of movies with ambiguous endings are still satisfying, because it’s up to interpretation. But this movie just ends, with no resolution, and it seems clear that we’re not just missing the resolution, there just is no resolution. Kind of a problem.
The scenes in the steamroom were also hard to watch, not because they were gory or intense, but because they were so yellow. The non-steamroom scenes were very blue, and the contrast sort of made my eyes hurt. Not a pleasant experience all the way around.
Although, it sort of is pleasant if you watch the steamroom parts of the movie assuming that they’ve only been stuck in there for 5 minutes and in that time go completely insane murder each other. I would have liked that movie more.
Man, talk about feeling like you’re watching a student film from your college. I’m not sure how the filmmakers convinced Val Kilmer, or Eric Roberts for that matter, into being in this movie.
When I was little I tried writing a lot more than I do now, especially in middle school, and every line in this film is definitely something I know I wrote down at some point back then. It’s so embarrassing to see Val Kilmer say these lines. Val Kilmer’s character reminds me a lot of that kid from high school who could easily partake in a school shooting but really is just out of touch with all reality in every way, no real threat to anyone.
The biggest disappointment about this movie is that the end made no sense. Not in a that’s-stupid-that-would-never-happen way but more in a what-did-I-just-watch way!
It’s not easy making Val Kilmer look dumb……maybe not but still overall this movie is mostly sad for the people involved.