Chronicle appeared on my radar about a month ago after the trailer appeared from nowhere. It immediately caught my attention and in keeping with tradition I didn’t give the film another thought until its release.
PLOT: Social outcast Andrew (Dane DeHaan), his cousin Matt (Alex Russell) and future class president Steve (Michael B Jordan) discover a mysterious crater in a secluded field. The next day they awaken with supernatural powers. After several weeks of pissing around, wreaking havoc in toy stores and playing catch in the sky Andrew starts veering more and more towards the dark side. END PLOT
Chronicle is filmed with hand-held cameras in the found footage/documentary style. I don’t have any particular problem with this style of film-making and don’t believe it has become overused – a film is either bad or good regardless of the techniques used to film it.
Luckily the documentary style works very well with Chronicle as the film is told from the point of view of three teenagers. How did the power-giving-crystal get into the field? We don’t know as the teenagers don’t care. The origins of the teens new found power is never answered in any great depth but this cuts out what would in all likelihood be dodgy exposition.
Instead of intricate story telling what we do get is three teenagers messing around with their powers. It sounds as though I am being critical but let’s face it – it was probably the most realistic portrayal of what normal folk would do if they suddenly discovered they had telekinetic powers. The vast majority of these scenes are given away in the preview. They are still genuinely amusing to watch during the film but there are a few surprises still to be revealed.
There is no real villain apart from Andrew, the most troubled teen, who becomes too powerful for his own good. There is a certain amount of sympathy to be felt for Andrew despite his actions. His anger and pain stem from his turbulent home life and his transition doesn’t feel rushed despite the film's short running time.
The cast are all fine but it is Dane DeHann (Andrew) who stands out. In fairness to the other actors Andrew is the only character that gets any development which relegates the others characters to supporting players.
The action starts off small but by the end it transcends to the characters throwing buses one another. There are a few impressive quieter moments too such as Andrew and the spider. Despite the obvious low budget feel of the film the action is impressive and the final act is very well pieced together.
The only problem I had was the ending as I was expecting one final jump or twist but it never came. I suppose the film deserves credit for not plumping for a “next time on Chronicle but only if we make enough money at the Box Office” final shot.
I absolutely love comic book movies and Chronicle falls into my favourite genre. It was definitely a wise choice to release it early in the year to avoid getting overshadowed by the big summer comic book films.
Chronicle gets a 9/10. The final scene was just a tad disappointing but aside from that it is a fantastic take on the superhero genre.