Saturday, 2 August 2014

Chrysalis: Tech Noir … In French … !

2nd August, 2014.

You know, I like movies.

No, really.

I don’t know if I’d say I’m a film critic.   Or buff.   Or fan, even.

But I like watching films.

Legally, for preference.   Using file sharing applications like Transmission to download copyrighted material is iffy, to say the least.

And impractical.

Especially if you — like I — have limits on how much you can download or upload.   Peer to peer file sharing can eat your monthly limit, like there’s no tomorrow.

My point , here … ?

Is that, occasionally, even in VERY cash-strapped times … ?   I occasionally have a little to spare on renting a film from iTunes.

Tonight … ?

Tonight, I actually felt adventurous to go exploring around iTunes, to see what it had.
What I found … ?

What I found was the 2008 French film, Chrysalis.


I think tech noir is the right phrase, thank you.

I also think ‘quite good’ is another phrase to use.

Mostly where Chrysalis is exactly that.


Set in Paris in the not too distant future, Chrysalis opens with a pre-title scene showing us a mother and daughter talking, whilst taking a car journey to … well where-ever.

And showing us the unexpected car crash that — we assume — kills the daughter.

After the opening credits fade … ?   After the credits fade, we’re shown Lieutenant David Hoffman (Albert Dupontel) attempting the messy arrest of smuggler, Nicolev.

Very messy.   Hoffman’s partner — and wife — was killed in the process.
After things have calmed down for Hoffman … ?

He’s assigned a new police partner — Marie Becker, played by Marie Guillard — and put onto the case of various amnesiacs found wondering around Paris.

ALL of who have similar scars around the eyes: scars that come from the sort of retractors used to clamp open eyelids … 

The sort of things you’d not expect Professor Brügen — the mother we saw at the start of the film — to be ordering for the heart clinic she runs.

Nor to be using on her daughter, Manon (Melanie Thierry): who’s recovering from the accident she’d had at the start of the film.


Now … 

Tech noir … ?

Yes … 

Now, I first remember seeing about twenty to twenty-five years ago: the writer — in a piece in The Guardian, I see to recall — had lifted the term from The Terminator to describe things like it, Blade Runner, Robocop and one or two others.
Grimy, gritty stuff with alienated heroes addicted to their own flaws of choice: and villains who are only marginally worse.

Or, at least, better dressed.

Now, I’m NO critique.

But it seems to me that Chrysalis is in that sort of latter-day cyberpunk tradition.

And one that, unlike (say) Strange Days*, doesn’t necessary lift ALL its points from a certain Mr Gibson.

Given both its competence, look and feel … ?

I think I can safely recommend Chrysalis to you.

*        I loved and love Strange Days.   But that doesn’t stop me thinking the film’s makers owe William Gibson a huge vote of thanks.   For coming up with the SQUID acronym, if nothing else … 

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