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Chrysalis

The other week I saw Chrysalis, a French film that is billed as a noir science fiction thriller. Unfortunately, it is neither noirish nor a thriller, and is only vaguely science fiction.

The film opens with a mother and daughter in a car, talking about their lives, and it is here, with the sudden car crash, that Julien Leclercq, the director of the film, provides his only surprise. After that, be it the shoot out that the protagonist and his soon to be dead wife find themselves in, or the reveal of hidden bad guys, or the fate of the daughter from the opening scenes... Leclercq has no surprises. Actually, I lie. There is one, involving twin brothers, but it's such a narrative cheat that it's not so much a surprise but a complete lack of common sense. Since the film is about a machine that, with enough electro-shock treatment, will wipe the memories of a man or woman, or will reprogram the memory of an individual, it was possible for Leclercq to actually make the concept of twins relate to his film and further the plot, but this is not the case. Instead, he tells the audience that they are really twins, and that the protagonist does really does kill the twin brother of his wife's murderer.

Does that begin to explain to you the sheer lack of intelligence in the film?

No? Well, how about the plot: a daughter is horribly injured in a car accident. A homeless woman and her sister go missing, but one shows up dead, with strange marks around her eyes from a machine that left her brain fried. Where oh where could the second sister be? Incidentally, did I mention that in the mother's clinic there's a fabulous plastic surgeon? Even the fight scenes have the luck of not being just uninteresting to watch, but also completely unnecessary to the film. It's as if Leclercq realised, half way through shooting, that his actors were uncharismatic, and his plot a child's play thing, and tossed them in in the hope that they would break things up.

Bah.

Avoid it, really. You'll thank me.

Comments

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lucius_t
Mar. 13th, 2008 12:18 pm (UTC)
If we avoid it, how will we know whether or not to thank you? There's the difficulty with reviewing. The only way to ratify your statement is to see it--and since I'd never heard of the film until you mentioned it and now am tempted to have a look, I suppose I should revile you. :)

I'll take your word for it, anyway. French scifi has almost as bad a track record as American.

Have you seen the Bothersome Man? Norwegian film. Most excellent.
benpeek
Mar. 13th, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
yeah, i've got a copy of THE BOTHERSOME MAN around here that i've been meaning to watch for a while now. perhaps instead of the next french film i decide to see :)

i'd never heard of CHRYSALIS, either. it's part of a festival doing the rounds here, and i thought it might be interesting, but nah. it wouldn't surprise me to see the director in america making expensive and stupid films in the years to come.

i reckon you should watch it. might do you better than some of those films you been watching recently ;)
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