Chaos (2001)

Runtime: 109 Minutes
Language: French
Country: France
IMDb Link:

Director: Coline Serreau
Vincent Lindon … Paul
Catherine Frot … Hélène
Rachida Brakni … Noémie / Malika
Line Renaud … Mamie
Aurélien Wiik … Fabrice
Ivan Franek … Touki

A middle-class middle-aged professional couple, Helene and Paul, (with a young adult student son away at college) are driving for an evening out one night, when a screaming, bleeding young woman running down the street desperately tries to get in the car and seek their help in escaping the men chasing her.  Paul locks the car doors, and the woman is beaten even more brutally by the men chasing her as Paul drives off, not wanting to get involved and irritated by the blood on the windscreen.  Helene tries to call the police and ambulance service, but Paul stops her, saying they could be charged with failing to render assistance.

Helene, cannot stop thinking about the poor young woman they had left for dead on the street and seeks around Paris hospitals for news of her, eventually finding her in a coma listed as a Jane Doe.  Helene goes to visit her, hoping to apologise for her/her husband’s behaviour – but as time goes on, Helene stays daily in the hospital and helps Noemie on the long road to recovery from brain damage.  During this time Helene gradually gives up her work, her husband and son, to care for Noemie.

Sub-plots and twists abound in this film, some hilarious comedy elements in dialogue with the men in Helene’s life, her boss, her husband and a number of sub-plots involving the womanising teenage son, as well as Paul’s mother.

Noemie, is Algerian-French and was trafficked into prostitution as a young girl, when she ran away from home over an arranged marriage. Over the years, she eventually found a way of leaving the scene with an enormous amount of money – which the ‘mob’ or the underworld pimps who owned Naomie felt was their money.  Hence, they are trying to find the millions and kill her.

Meanwhile even more twisting interrelated sub-plots occur – but ultimately, the 3 women: Helene, Naomie, and Paul’s elderly mother, participate an enormous ‘Sting’ operation and, very sweet revenge on ALL of the men that have so fucked up their lives, including all the average “Nice Guys”, and rescuing Naomie’s younger sister as well.

Constantly switching from serious hard-hitting powerful in-your-face drama around pros/porn/trafficking,  to light-hearted belly-laughing comedy (at men’s expense), and threaded through with Female-Friendship, it puts a whole new light on female-revenge genre in films.   

The film is available at Chaos (2001)
Heavily edited scenes are also available on Youtube:


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