After cornering the market in family fairytales such as The Princess Diaries and Ella Enchanted, some viewers were shocked to see Anne “goody-two-shoes” Hathaway getting her kit off in last year’s Brokeback Mountain.
But that was nothing in comparison to this gritty teenage drama from veteran TV director Barbara Kopple.
Hathaway plays 17-year-old Allison, a “little rich bitch” from a posh LA private school who, along with her best mate Emily (Phillips), spends her days fighting, smoking crack and having under age sex. Their lives are changed forever though when, after driving downtown to score some weed from a gang of Latino drug dealers, the girls are forced into a five-man gangbang with no means of escape.
Havoc starts and finishes with the same line: “We’re teenagers and we’re totally fucking bored”. But, in fact, the opposite is true, with only young lads looking for mindless violence and famous breasts likely to be entertained.
Written by 17-year-old schoolgirl Jessica Kaplan (and later polished by Traffic and Syriana scribe Stephen Gaghan) the gritty screenplay has a certain degree of authenticity to it - much like the similarly themed Kids and Thirteen – but ends up looking like a feature length episode of the OC with a rap soundtrack and 18 certificate.
Havoc fails to make any interesting observations about the clash of societies – one gang member says “people only think we sell drugs” but Kopple only shows Hispanics dealing, gangbanging and shooting people – and suffers from its unsatisfactorily abrupt ending.
Hathaway succeeds in destroying her previously wholesome image by cracking skulls, swearing like a trooper and writhing around with her tits out singing “Can I get a cock?”. But she looks much more comfortable towards the end of the film when she realises the follies of her previous existence and decides to turn her back on the world of drugs and debauchery.
On a more positive note, Rodriguez (last seen in Harsh Times) puts in a convincing turn as head thug, the whole thing only lasts 82 minutes, and it is excellent to see the bloke from Terminator (Biehn) finally reappearing after going AWOL for the last decade.
Staring: Anne Hathaway, Freddy Rodriguez, Bijou Phillips, Michael Biehn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Raymond Cruz
Directed by: Barbara Kopple