Other than the fact that the story revolves around a mind-wiping machine, and a few glimpses of futuristic gadgets, French cop drama Chrysalis does not bank on its ostensibly sci-fi pedigree. Light on special effects, this film stays within the boundaries of a traditional detective story and just happens to be set in the near future. Whether the lack of science fiction elements in this crime tale is a good or bad thing will depend on what genre of movie you prefer, though fans may well find themselves dissatisfied on both fronts.
After the death of his partner, Lieutenant David Hoffman (Albert Dupontel) agrees to return to duty to investigate a strange series of murders. Under the watchful eyes of his no nonsense superiors, Hoffman is paired up with rookie Clemence (Melanie Thierry) and the two begin an investigation that leads into a dangerous world filled with murderous smugglers, deranged Doctors and a machine that can erase memories.
Ultimately, the lack of full-on science fiction elements may leave this film in target audience limbo, turning away straightforward crime movie fans while leaving sci-fi audiences wanting more. Still, Chyrsalis is a nice departure from Hollywood sci-fi, which tends to value special effects over storytelling. The films "future look is somewhat clichéd, falling somewhere between Blade Runner and Minority Report, alternating between sleek cleanliness and broken down urban locations. The steadily paced story doesnt contain any surprises or new ideas that audiences havent seen before, but despite the films lack of boundary pushing imagination, Chrysalis is well made and manages to entertain.
In the end, Chrysalis is little more than a simple cop movie wrapped in a shiny package. Its worth a watch by fans of either genre but is unlikely to achieve the cult status necessary for the subtitled film to reach a North American audience. (Christal)