Starring Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, and Michael B. Jordan
Directed by Josh Trank
Rated PG-13 for intense action and violence, thematic material, some language, sexual content and teen drinking
While it seems like the found footage category was coming to a creative end, it appears that there are new applications such as this crafty new superhero movie. In Chronicle, an unpopular and troubled teenager named Andrew (DeHaan) decides to start video taping his life. When he and two friends (Russell and Jordan) wander into a cave, they discover something not of this world and the next day the three of them are in possession of some nifty little super powers such as telekinesis and the ability to fly. Unable to handle his out of control emotions, Andrew begins using his powers for evil forcing his friends to try to stop him.
Much of this film works really well. The best example of where the film goes right is in the story. The writing is very strong, placing an organic feel to the lives of the teenagers and tells a very believable “what if” tale. So many films about teens today paint an inaccurate picture of them. They all might show the culture of being a teen, but very few deal with the drama in a realistic manner. This film seems to do a wonderful job of getting it right.
Giving a nice lift to the script is this talented cast of relative unknowns. They portray their characters in a believable way that brings a sense of empathy upon them. You really want them to use their powers for good and make good decisions, but you also know that they are teenagers with an exceptional gift which ultimately means that bad behavior and mayhem might be forthcoming.
Where this film fails is in the found footage concept. Personally I found it completely unnecessary. It’s a gimmick that loses its appeal rather quickly. Not only that, but by the end they are splicing together found footage from so many sources that the whole premise lacks common sense. Maybe it helped keep the costs down, but it also manages to get in the way of something that could have been spectacular.
Even with its faults, Chronicle is an entertaining thriller that should find a nice audience from a wide range of ages. I also think it opens the doors for a variety of different genres to jump into the found footage game. Horror seemed to be the obvious place, but if they can throw superhero into the mix, why not romantic comedies, crime dramas and science fiction? B+