"Chaos" (2001) is the French neo-noir written and directed by Coline Serreau. John Grant missed this one. This is a very, very well done film. It's really two overlapping stories, with two heroines. One is that of Hélène (Catherine Frot), who is the harried wife of businessman Paul (Vincent Lindon) and mother of a teenage son. The other is that of an Algerian prostitute Noémie (Rachida Brakni) who was sold into marriage and then forced into being an addicted prostitute.
In this movie, women liberate themselves from male domination and worse.
Hélène wakes up to Paul's emotional and moral deadness and his selfish obsession with nothing but business. Paul has long since stopped believing that love even exists. This awakening is triggered by an incident that brings Noémie into their lives. Noémie is fleeing from the men who control her. She runs up to Paul's car pleading for help. He responds by locking the car down and letting the gang of three beat her into a coma. Hélène is beside Paul and sees what a beast and selfish coward Paul is. His money and success have made him entirely insensitive to others. Hélène goes to the hospital and helps nurse Noémie, whose story then begins to unfold. A good part of that is told through a recounting by Noémie, which tends to weaken the narrative structure; but what we gain is a great deal of strong detail about her life that would have required a lot of screen time and probably unduly diverted the story from the final sequences.
Men in this movie are insensitive beasts, oppressors and manipulators, Paul in his own way and the Algerian and/or French men who run the slavery ring that hooks females into drugs and prostitution. The women use their own weapons, turning against the men. The younger generation is depicted as interested in sex and irresponsible. They are shown as messy spongers lacking in grace. Noémie's family, such as it is, has a morality that is unrecognizable by Western standards. Her stepfather sells her. Her step-brothers treat Noémie's blood sister, who lives with them, as a slave and doormat. These young men are only interested in motorcycles and gadgets.
For better or worse, Ms. Serreau doesn't hold back in her characterizations. My opinion is that it's for better. It's far better to have sharply defined characters that interest us than to avoid characterizations or fail to create them altogether. Besides, Serreau's characters at least catch some elements of reality.