Chrysalis is one of
those pieces that's really, really difficult to write about because
it pulls you in so many conflicting directions at once.
Chrysalis takes us
to Paris, the not too distant future of 202, where the world is
ruled by new and impressive technological advances. One of the
biggest is the advent of remote surgery, developed at a Parisian
medical clinic. One of the developers of same was involved in
a bad car wreck, and used her skills and technology to help save
her daughter's life. But part of the surgery involved damage to
the hippocampus, and thus short-term memory was affected. Meanwhile,
a Parisian cop is chasing a collar of a lifetime, but it turns
out he's connected to the aforementioned medical clinic. How does
it all fit together? The answer is, I'm frankly not sure.
The thing you'll need
to remember about Chrysalis is that it's FRENCH. The French, as
we've seen from movies like Ils and Haute Tension (They and High
Tension, for those of you what don't parler) have a very singular
style in that they'll gladly sacrifice things like making sense
and being possible for the sake of VISUAL IMPACT. In other words,
the biggest thing for them seems to be about looking good.
And indeed, Chrysalis
LOOKS awesome. It's very clean. Very sharp, very orderly, very
precise; almost like what you'd expect a medical clinic to look
like. It is the razor's edge of a scalpel. It has a sharp, stark
beauty to it, like polished steel. The only problem is that Chrysalis
has all the WARMTH of that same polished steel. It has all the
heart and soul of that same scalpel. It has all the love of that
It's easily one of
the most beautiful movies I've seen in a long time--even the fight
choreography is beautifully done--but it's almost unwatchable
because it's so spectacularly boring. The characters are almost
interchangeable null ciphers, one to the next, so much so that
it's almost impossible to care about them.
And it's sad, too--I
was really looking forward to a sweet science fiction ride, and
indeed, Chrysalis looked to provide, with shades of Blade Runner
and Total Recall and just a really tiny hint of Bad Cop Bon Cop.
Oh, it gave me all of that, sure enough...and it also gave me
all the warmth of a slowly melting ice sculpture.
The ending is just
a microcosm of the whole film, looking great and being totally
The special features
include a making-of featurette, French and English language tracks,
English subtitles, and a trailer for Chrysalis, as well as some
other trailers at the beginning of the movie, inaccessible from
the DVD menu itself.
All in all, Chrysalis
is a beautiful but unwatchable movie, filled with ice cold dignity
and grace. It's just too bad you can't actually care about any
Directed by Julien Leclercq
Written by Julien Leclercq, Franck Philippon
Starring Albert Dupontel, Marie Guillard, Marthe Keller, Melanie
Produced by Jean-Philippe Blime, Franck Chorot
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