Chain of Fools (2000)

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German title Chain of Fools
Original title Chain of Fools
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 2000
length 96 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Pontus Löwenhielm ,
Patrick von Krusenstjerna
script Bix Skahill
production Tony Lord ,
Happy Walters ,
Matt Weaver
music David A. Hughes ,
John Murphy
camera Frederick Elmes
cut Harvey Rosenstock

Chain of Fools (alternative title: Verbrecher und other Chaoten ) is an American criminal grotesque by Pontus Löwenhielm and Patrick von Krusenstjerna from 2000 . The main roles are cast with Steve Zahn and Salma Hayek . Jeff Goldblum , Elijah Wood and David Cross play leading roles .


Thomas Kresk is an unsuccessful hairdresser. His wife Karen, who of all people got involved with the marriage counselor the couple went to, wants a divorce. It just happened that the depressed man found out that Zachory Seymour Avnet, a customer, had stolen three extremely valuable Chinese coins and decided to blackmail billionaire Robert Bollingsworth. When Avnet notices that he has an ear witness to his treacherous phone call and wants to shoot Kresk, he slips and falls with his neck straight into the scissors that the barber is holding.

Without a plan, what should happen next, Kresk asks his friend Andy Brower for help. Together they want to make the body disappear in the lake. However, there are a particularly large number of joggers there, so the team first takes the dead person to Karen's apartment, who is currently on vacation in Italy. Then the friends go to Avnet's apartment to look for the valuable coins. While they are still looking, the transvestite Jerome alias Miss Coca enters the apartment, against whom the two men have to defend themselves in a fight. When Brower goes down, Kresk tries to help his friend and hits the attacker over the head with a piggy bank that, oh wonder, contains the Chinese coins.

While Kresk is still busy heaving his unconscious friend into the car, the only 17-year-old professional killer Mikey appears, who has been hired by Robert Bollingsworth to shoot Avnet, secure the coins and bring them to him. In the apartment, however, he only comes across Miss Coca, who is passed out on the floor.

While Kresk is supposed to take care of his little hyperactive nephew Scootie, an accident happens. The boy finds the Chinese coins and swallows them. At the hospital, Dr. Welby Kresk that he shouldn't worry, the coins would come out naturally. However, Kresk's sister Jeannie has since found out about the incident and is upset about her brother to pick up her child from the hospital. Kresk now believes the coins are lost forever and wants to throw himself off a bridge to his death. Just as he is ready to jump, he sees a man jumping into the river without knowing that it is Bollingsworth. Without thinking further, he rescues the stranger who is already in a coma. His assistant Frederick Kerner vehemently insists that his boss had no intention of suicide. He probably stumbled.

Now Sergeant Meredith Kolko comes into play, who is investigating robbery and suspects Bollingsworth as the perpetrator, since Museum Director Melander Stevens had told him about the delivery of valuable old Chinese coins and his plan to lure possible thieves on the wrong track. There is a kind of love-hate relationship between the two men, which is why Bollingsworth hired Avnet, who then tried to betray him.

When Kresk learns that there are French collectors who would pay a fortune for such coins, he brings his nephew Scottie into his apartment at a favorable moment. He wants to fly to France with the child and hopes that Scottie will then leave the coins in his care. Before that, Kresk visits Bollingsworth in the hospital and tells him that, in the belief that the patient in a coma won't notice anything about his plan. All of a sudden, however, Bollingsworth grabs him by the neck, Kresk can barely free himself. Now it's up to him to want to take out a witness, which is why Kresk seeks out his former classmate Paulie Haas, who, albeit hesitantly, advances him with money and gives him the address of a hit man, it's Mikey! When the killer wants to carry out the job in the hospital, another professional killer bursts into the hospital room, who is supposed to kill the patient on behalf of Frederick Kerner. Before he can still do his job and now wants to shoot Mikey as well as Bollingsworth, the door opens and Miss Coca, who is employed as a cleaning lady in the hospital, happens to enter the room. This is how Mikey manages to escape.

However, Kresk faces another problem as Haas regrets that he has advanced money that he now wants back. He and his friend go to Kresk's apartment, but only meet Brower and Scottie, who are tied up by the two men. Through a rash remark from Scottie, they learn about the coins in his stomach and then take the child with them. When Kresk comes home, the doorbell rings and Meredith is at the door. Both now have a love affair. When the hairdresser is looking for a condom in the bathroom, he meets Mikey who is hiding there. While they are still talking in whispers, Meredith discovers a pistol and the two tickets to Paris. She now believes that Kresk is the robbery, but is knocked down by Brower, who has since been able to remove his bonds, when she points her gun at Kresk. The friends then go to Haas to free Scottie. There is an exchange of fire in which the gangsters kill each other and Brower is injured.

All those involved then meet again in the hospital. Bollingsworth is now dead and Avnet, who regained consciousness in Karen's apartment, tried to escape over the balcony and suffered a broken neck, is now actually pushed down the hospital corridor as a corpse. The journalists gathered around Captain Weaver and Meredith Kolko are told that Kresk witnessed Robert Bollingsworth throwing something into the water before jumping. It was probably the stolen Chinese coins.

Meredith explains to Kresk why she lied about keeping the coins that way. When Scottie finally eliminates them in the toilet, the automatic flush pulls them down with it, but this has no effect on Thomas and Meredith being happy together. The coins that got into the sea through a sewer and that were swallowed by a large fish almost return because Scottie gets this fish of all places. However, it slips away from him and falls back into the water.


The film, presented by Bel-Air Entertainment and produced by A City Block Films / Weaver / Lord Production, was shot in Vancouver . Production costs were estimated at 20 million US dollars . It is the feature film debut of the Swedish film team Traktor, behind which Pontus Löwenhielm and Patrick von Krusenstjerna hide.


The film premiered in the United States on September 22, 2000. Its working title was: Shiny New Enemies . In November 2000 it was published in both the Czech Republic and Kuwait. It was released on DVD in Finland in 2001. In December 2001 it had its video premiere in Bulgaria, as well as in January 2002 in Hungary, in March 2002 in Argentina, in June 2002 in Norway, in November 2002 in Greece (DVD premiere) and in September 2004 in Sweden, where he first ran on television. It has also been published in Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Poland, Serbia, Russia and Slovenia.

In Germany it was released on October 7, 2002 with a German soundtrack on DVD, published by Ufa. Another DVD title was also Verbrecher und other Chaoten .


The lexicon of international films wrote that the film was a “black comedy” made up of “episodes not arranged chronologically”, “which hardly helps the story, which is not very original anyway, to be more conclusive”. The "well-humored actors" who carry this "amusing-absurd story effortlessly" would make up for the shortcomings. spoke of a "tired story" that was "awkwardly told" and also praised the "brilliant cast". It also said: Probably the idea for this turbulent, but overly complicated and hardly particularly pointedly told crime grotesque from the independent workshop looked better on paper, otherwise there would hardly have been a star battery from Jeff Goldblum and Salma Hayek about 'Frasier' brother David Hyde Pierce to 'Lord of the Rings' Frodo Elijah Wood for it. It is also the stately cast that ennobles the video crime thriller that flopped at the US box office to a potential winner. Top 30 possible.

For the author Dieter Wunderlich, the film presented itself as a "turbulent crook grotesque". It also said: "Weird characters, an abundance of ludicrous ideas and unexpected twists and turns make for a lot of fun." The film is also convincing "formally"

The TV magazine prisma saw it that way and spoke of a “black comedy full of ludicrous ideas and unexpected twists” at the “directorial debut of the video clip director duo Traktor alias Pontus Löwenhielm and Patrick von Krusenstjerna. It is teeming with bizarre characters who are consistently prominently cast. In addition to Steve Zahn [...], who can be seen as a likeable 'stand-up man' in a prime role, Jeff Goldblum [...] shines as an eccentric gangster, Elijah Wood [...] as a cocky killer and Selma Hayek, who shows as a shrewd policewoman [ e] that she can do more than just be beautiful and dance with snakes ”.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Filming locations for Chain of Fools , accessed August 12, 2007
  2. ^ Box office / business for Chain of Fools, accessed August 12, 2007
  3. a b criminals and other chaots at
  4. Chain of Fools DVD cover
  5. ^ Chain of Fools. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  6. Chain of Fools (2000) at, accessed on May 14, 2017.
  7. Criminals and other chaots at, accessed on May 14, 2017.