Directed by Josh Trank
Story by Josh Trank and Max Landis
Michael B. Jordan
Chronicle is an enjoyable film with lots of action, likable characters and blockbuster special-FX. It is a film in the reality-style, hand-held, video-cam technique, films. It is not a found footage film – we are seeing everything in real time through the camera lens (even though it is being recorded on video). Early in the movie, this style helps build a strong relationship with the three main characters, but as the action begins to escalate it becomes a burden to the film. The movie appeals to my sense of boyhood adventure and angst, so I think it is more suited to a male audience.
High school outcast, Andrew, is brought together in friendship with his popular cousin, Matt, and the even more popular, high school jock, Steve, when the three of them discover an underground cavern with a giant glowing metal object buried within it. Contact with the object causes hyper-telekinesis in the three youths. They form an instant bond as they learn to use their new found powers. Andrew documents all their adventures in harnessing these powers on his video camera and we see the tale manifest through his lens.
Just when it seems Andrew is going to shed his outcast and downtrodden social standing, a series of unfortunate events unfold – one, involving his sick mother and abusive step-dad and another mishap at a party that it seems every student from his high school has attended. The film does a great job at making you empathize with Andrew through these harsh issues but you are quickly horrified as the young man turns on his friends and uses his powers in the most destructive ways possible.
The rest of the film turns into a modern-day “Carrie” with a sci-fi angle, crossed with a superhero vs. supervillain battle between Andrew and Matt. It is during this battle that the hand-held/reality-style camera work becomes a hindrance and the format is suddenly dropped and switches to third person camera angles, interlaced with surveillance camera and news-chopper shots. It was a bit jarring when this happened and led to a bit of a distraction. However, the action is quickly ramped-up, and I for one, was able to make the mental switch and enjoy the rest of the film. Despite the mentioned drawback, I did like the film, perhaps not enough to buy and own it, but it was definitely solid enough to spend a night watching.
Great action in this realistic superhero, first person sci-fi film!
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