The marriage of science and technology is capable of spawning great things but how many suffer in the process of perfecting results and helping others?
It is Paris, 2025 and a surgeon no longer has to be in the same operating room as the patient to perform complex procedures. But Professor Brügen (Marthe Keller), the doctor responsible for this technology, is keeping a secret. Her daughter nearly died in a car accident – how far has she gone to preserve her daughter’s life?
In the meantime, Lt. David Hoffman (Albert Dupontel) is chasing brutal murderer Dimitri Nicolav (Alain Figlarz) and will not let anything stand in his way of capturing him. Hoffman’s colleagues do not trust him and his new partner does not understand him.
Another girl has been found dead and her sister is still missing; meanwhile, victims of experimentation are surfacing with no memory prior to their discovery – the two are connected and Nicolav is somehow involved; it is up to Hoffman to connect the dots.
Director Julien Leclercq incorporates a twist on one of the key characteristics of film noir in the color of Chrysalis: instead of black and grey, it is blue and white. Still, the skies are dark, conspiracies run deep and women are dangerous; however, little else of Chrysalis is Chandler-esque.
On the contrary, the film began as a remake and evolved into an homage to Georges Franju’s 1960 masterpiece, Les yeux sans visage (Eyes without a Face). Although the plots are similar, the filmmakers changed the nature of the experiment being conducted.
Along with these elements, there is also a hint of some cyberpunk elements in the film. The technology is invasive and, simultaneously, more freeing as holograms and desks equipped with touch screens have replaced physical apparatuses. On the other hand, fans of the physical can breathe a sigh of relief, as research assured Leclercq actual newspapers would still be sold in twenty years. In addition, skilful fighting abilities and the importance of memory are common traits in cyberpunk.
The fight sequences are littered with tight shots, putting audiences in the middle of the action. Dupontel only agreed to work on the project if he could perform his own stunts; therefore, he trained for six weeks with Figlarz, who also served as stunt coordinator on Bourne Identity, and afforded Leclercq the luxury of not having to hide the identity of a stunt double while shooting.
Although parts of Chrysalis may feel a little slow, the premise and obstacles to be overcome are interesting. Nonetheless, it would have benefited from a couple of additional hand-to-hand combat scenes and more of a cyberpunk atmosphere.