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Chain of Fools
Chain of Fools
Actors: Steve Zahn, Salma Hayek, Jeff Goldblum, Elijah Wood, David Cross
Directors: Patrick von Krusenstjerna, Pontus L÷wenhielm
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2005     1hr 38min

No Description Available. Genre: Feature Film-Drama Rating: R Release Date: 15-FEB-2005 Media Type: DVD


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Movie Details

Actors: Steve Zahn, Salma Hayek, Jeff Goldblum, Elijah Wood, David Cross
Directors: Patrick von Krusenstjerna, Pontus L÷wenhielm
Creators: Alex Schwartz, Charles Block, Happy Walters, Matt Weaver, Steven Reuther, Bix Skahill
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 02/15/2005
Original Release Date: 09/22/2000
Theatrical Release Date: 09/22/2000
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 38min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Member Movie Reviews

Reviewed on 10/3/2012...
1.5 stars.

I can't imagine what possessed all these fine actors to take part in this cheap excuse for a film. Lame dialogue, half-assed plot and lackluster acting combine to make this one of the worst movies in this genre I've ever seen. Don't waste your credits.
Reviewed on 2/12/2011...
This is an off-beat comedy that has a great cast and should have been better. However, if you are a big Steve Zahn fan (like me), it's fun to watch!

Movie Reviews

Lost laughs
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 11/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Until recently, anyone who wanted to see cult heist comedy "Chain of Fools" would have to go to Australia or the Phillippines to find a copy. Now Americans can also get to experience this hilarious, Tarantinoesque little movie, with its oddball characters and screwball story. Just be glad Americans can get it now.

Barber Kresk (Steve Zahn) is a loser -- he isn't good at his job, he's been tossed out of his home, and his wife just dumped him for the marriage counselor (isn't that a breach of professional ethics?). Now he's depressed, and contemplating suicide. And yes, things get worse: a criminal named Avnet (Jeff Goldblum) has stolen three priceless coins, and decided to blackmail Bollingsworth (Tom Wilkinson), his billionaire partner in crime. After Kresk overhears this, he almost gets shot -- and Avnet ends up impaled on a pair of barbers' scissors.

Now Kresk is in a considerably nastier situation, so he steals the gun and the coins. But things take a sharp turn when he hires a hit man named Mikey (Elijah Wood), and discovers that the hit man is only seventeen and emotionally traumatized by his parents' suicide. And that Kresk is falling for the cop/Playboy model Sgt. Meredith Kolko (Salma Hayek), and that his nephew Scottie (Devin Drewitz) has now swallowed the coins. Now Kresk is in over his head, and has to deal with the strange and sometimes dangerous people around him.

"Chain of Fools" is one of those glorious little cult films that takes forever to get the attention it should have -- it languished on the shelf for four years before getting released. Maybe Warner Bros. dawdled because it's hard to classify -- it's not art-house yet not mainstream. But whatever you consider it to be, there are few movies that so perfectly balance out humor and heists the way this one does.

For your information, "Traktor" is not a person. It's seven persons, from Sweden, who have masterminded over three hundred commercials; two of them handle the direction of this film. And besides being good at romance and action, Pontus Löwenhielm and Patrick Von Krusenstjerna proves that they are also outstanding at black comedy. Black comedy is a hard thing to do, since most directors cross the line into grotesque or stupid.

In "Chain of Fools," the line is never crossed -- one particularly hilarious scene has two hit men arguing over who will kill a comatose man, only to have their victim lurch awake, then drop dead, thus dealing with their dilemma. The hit men, with their victim dead, saunter off to watch a musical, now the best of pals. And there's a distinctly Tarantinoesque flavor to the proceedings. For example, Mikey recounts three times how he bumped off a congressman -- the first two portray him as a butt-kicking fighter, but the third tells it how it really happened.

The cast of characters actually is quite quirky, and the actors do a bang-up job of bringing them to life. Steve Zahn is likable and laughable as a down-on-his-luck barber who desperately takes matters into his own hands, and Elijah Wood is equally good as the teenage hit man who cries in front of clients, loves "Cats" and has never actually killed anyone. Salma Hayek gets to play the can't-get-no-respect Kolko, a woman with a body AND a brain, and Orlando Jones has a small but entertaining part as a drag queen.

Fans of dark comedy will adore "Chain of Fools," a wonderfully warped comedy about priceless coins, Playboy bunny detectives, death by scissors, gun-toting teenagers and wild chases through a hospital. Definitely worth a look."
Chain of Fools - Great Film with one Rare Diamond - Elijah W
Edward C. Patterson | Allentown, PA | 07/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Chain of Fools? Comedy of Errors? Hard to say, except this extremely entertaining farce with a stellar cast and intelligent script engages the viewer at every turn. No lulls-no dry spots. Unfortunately, there's no heavy themes as well-except a thread that life is worth living and it can be lived without the benefit of three ancient Chinese coins called the Shiny New Enemies. Chain of Fools, released on such a limited basis most people still know nothing of its existence, has grown in popularity since its 2000 release through increased viewership, especially from the fans of some of its stars-particularly Elijah Wood.

The comedy is dark, somewhat racy and at times downright bizarre-but in the good sense of that word (??). Lines and moods are juxtaposed to get a laugh. The characters are-well, a chain of fools, from the accidental killer barber, the ne'er-do-well entrepreneur, the centerfold police detective, the teenage hit man-to the drag-queen nurse and her gangster boyfriend, the spelling-challenged mobster and the insane boy scout leader. Mix them all together, you get-mixed nuts and a great deal of true entertainment. Who needs a theme when you have a plot so circuitous and convoluted that you need a score card to ride the roller coaster. Fortunately, as I mentioned, the script is clever and smart. The visual application supports the premise, if there is one; and most important, the cast is sound to superlative.

The star, Steve Zahn turns in a strong performance as Kresk the lousy barber-comic, desperate and likeable. He's a lovable loser and we root for him. His antagonist, Salma Hayek, as Detective Kolko, whose claim to fame is her spread in Playboy, provides a solid foil to Steve Zahn's desperate bid to sleep with her. David Cross's Andy, the overgrown Boy Scout leader, bumbles well through his role with several funny moments, particularly when he brings a young scout to an avalanche of tears over tying a square knot.

The bad guys are zany and energetic. Tom Wilkinson as the pompous, out of place Bollingsworth exudes humor. His versatility runs the gamut from his zany comments at the heist to his hiring of an unlikely hitman. It's a shame his character is in a coma for the majority of the movie. Jeff Goldblum's gangster, Avnet, is snaky and treacherous. We're glad to see him downed by a pair of accidental scissors to the neck and a Pastrami on Rye in the face. Other good performances (in some case fleeting) are turned in by Kevin Corrigan as Paulie, the local mobster; David Hyde Pierce as the insidious Mr. Kerner; Orlando Jones as an over-the-top drag queen, Miss Cocoa, and Lara Flynn Boyle as Kresk's ex-wife, Karen.

Chain of Fools would probably be just another solid Indy comedy if it were not for the phenomenal performance of Elijah Wood as Mikey, the teenage hitman. Wood's intelligence focuses on the unlikely character, casting him against type. But, once again, Elijah Wood inhabits his character to grab every scene its in and turn it into the glue that transforms a B+ film into an A+ one. Elijah Wood projects a steel force character in a handsome, kid's body to the point we forget the kid and believe the villain. Then, he surprises us by resuscitating the kid, so much so, when he disappears from the film, the remaining fifteen minutes is just so much anti-climax. Wood provides the funniest scenes in the film from his assassination of a state politician (we are given three different versions), to his atonal response to suicide. We get hitman wisdom from a toilet seat and a Sartrian discussion of life and death during a hit. Elijah Wood may not be the star of Chain of Fools, but he is the most iconic link in this farcical bracelet.

Without a doubt, Chain of Fools is underrated, because it never received a wide-screen release. For Elijah Wood fans, it was made in the shadow of Frodo Baggins and could have very well gone unnoticed like that other gem of gems released (or not released) during the same period, The Bumblebee Flies Anyway. In any case, the quality of a film should never be judged by the quantity of its viewers. If I were the only person to see this work, I would still give it an A+ as one of the smartest, nearly flawless films to commence the 21st Century.
A funny, little-known cult classic!
Rosamunde Browlocks | 11/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Although this gem of a movie was produced in 2000, circumstances conspired to keep it from ever being released, so don't be surprised if you've never heard of this well-kept secret.

It's a great little tongue-in-cheek movie with an outrageous ensemble cast, starring Steve Zahn as a hapless barber who gets involved in a murder and the aftershocks of a heist gone wrong. The other characters include Jeff Goldblum as an unlikable thief with a surprising "girlfriend", Selma Hayek as a detective who isn't taken seriously by the department since she posed in Playboy, the great Tom Wilkinson (The Bedroom, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) as a snobbish member of the uppercrust who is determined to best his rival, a surprising and wonderful Elijah Wood (also of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which this movie at times resembles) as a high schooler moonlighting as a hitman, a scarily intense Boy Scout leader, a successful gangster with a reading problem, the nephew from hell... the list goes on and on. Each of the characters is funny, unique, and memorable... such as the high school hitman, who really only wants to find a friend - so they can go see "Cats" together!

As I mentioned before, the movie shares some similarities, and some cast, with the later Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It also plays around with time, jumping back and forth as the story unfolds, and has a similar dark, wry, but good-natured sense of humor. And the music? Well, considering this was a work by people who got their start in the music video business, you know it's good. Can't get "I've Seen Better Days" off my mind!

Check it out. Being an LOTR fan, I've ended up showing this to a number of people whose only initial interest was that Elijah Wood appeared in it, and I've been amazed that it's been unanimously well-received. I only wish it would find a larger audience; cable TV is missing a great opportunity."