Review: Chronicle

Chronicle

Director:

Josh Trank

Writers:

Max Landis (screenplay & story), Josh Trank (story)

Cast:

Dane DeHaan – Andrew

Alex Russell – Matt

Michael B. Jordan – Steve

Ashley Hinshaw – Casey

 

 

Chronicle is viral-style film that follows three friends who are mysteriously endowed with powerful telekinesis. It was filmed in South Africa, Vancouver, BC and Seattle, Washington. It had an estimated budget of $12 million and grossed over $125 million worldwide.

The movie begins with Andrew setting up a camera in his bedroom. It is through Andrew’s camera that most of the story is revealed. There are some brief sequences augmented by street camera footage and Casey, another viral filmmaker. The story progresses linearly as we follow outsider/loner Andrew around high school, his abusive home life and the progressively intensifying exploits of Andrew, Matt, and Steve. At a party, Steve and Matt discover an underground cave in a ravine and coerce Andrew to bring his camera and film what they find. Inside the cave, the boys discover a strange structure and before they know it, something happens. The movie is about how the boys use and abuse their new power.

The first thing that impressed me about this film was its honesty.  The three lead actors come across as typical American teens. This is evidenced by the type of pranks the boys pull as they exercise their power. In one scene the boys telekinetically move a parked car in a mall parking lot. When the driver returns the boys are overcome with giddy laughter at their clever joke. The acting doesn’t seem like acting but instead, re-acting. And it is pulled off well.

Second, the psychology is spot on. What begins as fun teenage pranks degenerates into profound violence. This is not another “hand-held” movie. This is a subtle science fiction thriller caught voyeuristically through the lens of the main character’s camera. The filmmakers don’t pull any punches when dealing with the psycho-socio repercussions of three teenage boys who discover that they have limitless power.

Finally, the movie is entertaining. I could watch this again and again. The movie delivers some great Jackass-style viral hijinks (i.e.: the baseball scene) and exceptional low-budget VFX. Unlike Cloverfield (which I love), the audience is not so much along for the ride but instead is almost the fourth character. The film draws you in and lets you be the proverbial “fly on the wall” and it is very satisfying.

Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

 

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