Director: Barbara Koppel
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Bijou Phillips, Shiri
Appleby & Michael Biehn
RunTime: 1 hr 25 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: M18 (Sexual
Official Site: http://www.media8ent.com/mdp/movies.asp?movieID=16
Day: 29 June 2006
The lives of wealthy teenagers living in Los Angeles
whose exposure to "hip hop culture" inspires them
to imitate the "gangsta lifestyle." Although, they
soon run into trouble when they come face-to-face with a real
gang of Latino drug dealers. Havoc also features Anne Hathaway
(Princess Diaries) first nude scenes.
a straight-to-DVD release for domestic audiences in the US
and Europe, Havoc has just found its way to our theatres.
On whether that’s a good thing, is still up for debate.
Especially when its single-minded publicity campaign is in
every respect being fuelled by the notion of bored girls gone
wild and ghetto. If that last sentence had you conjuring up
images of drug use, gang violence and sex, that’s exactly
what this film delivers in spades.
page out of Larry Clark’s playbook, the story revolves
around bored white teenagers with copious amounts of free
time and money. They find themselves getting acquainted with
drugs, sex and hip-hop to keep the numbness of suburbia out
of their lives. They have formed their own inconsequential
gang, the P.L.C., and head up illegal activities with the
confidence in daddy’s fat chequebook bailing them out
when trouble knocks on their doors.
by pop culture characterisations, they emulate the street-talking,
hardened personas of their less fortunate counterparts in
the ghetto. On a night like any other, they head out to the
mean streets of the city. After an altercation with a Latino
drug dealer, the boys swear revenge while the girls are enthralled
by the dangers lurking across the highway from their homes.
Soon they head back to the slums where the real street gangs’
hang out, flirting with disaster while enjoying the attention
they get from them. Obviously nothing transpires the way the
way they hoped that it would.
Grease, West Side Story and Reefer Madness with a modern day
twist. All the classic elements are there while enveloped
in faux grit and hardboiled emotions. The good girl lured
to the dangerous hoodlum, the warring factions of society
and the underlying warning for nice boys and girls to resist
temptation are all throwbacks to the Age of Affluence. Thrown
in for good measure is a subplot of a classmate following
them about, filming a verite-style docudrama of their fascination
with gang culture and the apparent personal isolation they
live through. Although it’s a cheap shot, it manages
to be effective in bringing across the reasons and feeling
concerning the teenagers’ actions through the reflective
exposition of a personal and sincere interview.
really all about Anne Hathaway isn’t it? The young,
gorgeous icon of many female tweens and the fantasy of even
more teenage boys finally attempts to shed the bubblegum pop
image that the Princess Diaries movies and Ella Enchanted
had gifted her. If there’s one thing you must have heard
about Havoc, it was the candid nude scenes that she has in
this film as she consciously slips into sinful degradation.
her character together with Bijou Phillip’s Emily is
its main focus. Their portrayals, especially Hathaway’s
are impressive and natural. The scenes with undertones of
sexuality between the two best friends are handled exceptionally
well by the actresses. Although this performance was supposed
to be off tangent and bold, she actually does not stray far
from her role in The Princess Diaries by being a strong, intelligent
and independent character who gets into something way beyond
the same can’t be said for the rest of the characters.
While not a drab ensemble by any means, the obviously talented
cast that includes acting veterans like Joseph Gordon-Levitt
(Mysterious Skin, Brick), Laura San Giacomo (Just Shoot Me,
Pretty Woman, The Stand) and Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under,
Can’t Hardly Wait) are so misused that it’s a
crying shame. Even more shocking are the creative team behind
the film in director, Barbara Kopple (American Dream, Harland
County, U.S.A.) and scriptwriter, Stephen Gaghan (Traffic).
Both Oscar winners failed to offer more depth to their characters
and seemed satisfied to develop a prototypical aspect to their
eventually unlikable and borderline offensive supporting characters.
a film that aimed to show the flaws of pop culture and its
ill-advised characterisations, it was somehow not self-aware
enough to know how far they have fallen into that very sandpit.
Like the characters straight out of Jamie Kennedy’s
similarly themed Malibu’s Most Wanted, the depictions
of the Latino drug dealers and the jaded white teenagers are
at times farcical. However, as much as it tries too hard,
it is also made compelling by the film’s brisk pace
and captivating young leads.
for the breasts, stay for the flawed but ultimately interesting
Review by Justin Deimen