Director(s): Barbara Kopple (Wild Man Blues) Writer(s): Jessica Kaplan & Stephen Gaghan (Traffic, Abandon) Starring: Anne Hathaway, Bijou Phillips The original writer of Havoc, Jessica Kaplan, had her script purchased before her 18th birthday. The script languished in development hell for a couple years, with Traffic scribe Stephen Gaghan eventually finalizing the shooting script. Sadly, […]

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Director(s): Barbara Kopple (Wild Man Blues)
Writer(s): Jessica Kaplan & Stephen Gaghan (Traffic, Abandon)
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Bijou Phillips

The original writer of Havoc, Jessica Kaplan, had her script purchased before her 18th birthday. The script languished in development hell for a couple years, with Traffic scribe Stephen Gaghan eventually finalizing the shooting script. Sadly, Jessica never got the chance to see the finished product, as she died in a plane crash in mid-2003.

Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper loved the movie, with Roeper saying a few months back that it would’ve been in his Top 10 for ’05 if it wasn’t sent direct-to-video. Other critics have hated it, harping on it for being exploitation and all that usual noise. The truth, or at least my opinion, lies somewhere in the middle.

Havoc takes one of the subplots from Chicago Boricua, with well-off white girls getting mixed up with gang folk, and widens its scope while keeping things filthy. Like so many stupid white people, Pacific Palisades teens Allison (Hathaway) and Emily (Phillips) have become disenfranchised by their rich suburban life. Their boyfriends like to pretend as if they’re down with the streets, and to show off their skills, they head down to East LA with the girls to buy some weed. After Allison’s boyfriend gets a gun pulled on him, they speed off, but Allison and Emily aren’t yet ready to leave. They hang with the gang, and eventually seek out membership, and that doesn’t end well at all.

For the most part, I loved Havoc. It’s dark and moody, no single character is all that likeable in the traditional sense, and the open-ended ending was a nice touch. It even has Princess Diaries sweetheart Anne Hathaway and Bijou Phillips go for broke with sex scenes. It all makes for an interesting experiment in filmmaking that, more or less, succesfully modernizes an old plotline.

The last half hour or so brings it down a few pegs, but nonetheless, I enjoyed Havoc while it lasted.
DVD: Barebones.

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Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Havoc (2005), 6.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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