Chronicle: Review

In amongst all the different genre movies there are in the world nowadays there is one that is relatively new, yet has already seemed to have worn out its welcome. The “found footage” genre of movie was first made popular by the indie film The Blair Witch Project and has since rocketed through all the different forms therein. Zombies, demonic possession, and giant monsters have all been subjected to the shaky handheld camera treatment and now, thanks to writer Max Landis and director Josh Trank, we get to marvel at superheroes. Albeit we may have to marvel while they are out of focus and not quite in the shot.

The story is about three high school boys, Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan, In Treatment), his cousin Matt Garetty (Alex Russell, Wasted On The Young), and school president candidate Steve Montgomery ( Micheal B. Jordan, The Wire) who are granted magnificent powers after finding an underground cavern with strange rock formations that seem to pulsate with energy. The story focuses on Andrew for the most part, mainly because he owns the camera. He’s a loner with an alcoholic abusive father and a mother who is slowly and painfully dying. His only friend is his cousin Matt who is big into philosophy and trying to sound smarter than he is. Moments before the incident that grants them their powers happens, Andrew is befriended by Steve, who is everything Andrew is not, like, confident and self assured. Its not until they all gain their powers that they become close and like brothers, especially Steve and Andrew. They become inseparable and help each other learn how to utilize their powers, like telekinesis and flight, safely and in the coolest ways possible. Soon though the power corrupts Andrew  and he abuses the power he has.

The characters are solid and while being in the realm of fantastical, they are grounded and believable in their actions. The story is clever and while it does dip into the cliche pool here and there, it just makes it that more real. I personally have problems with the “found footage” movies, the main one being that if it were me, I would just drop the camera and run for my life. There are, however, no real hazards, besides the main characters themselves, in the movie and I can believe in Andrew’s wanting to shoot everything because he’s a teenage boy who wants to barrier himself from the rest of the world. As Andrew grows strongest of the three he gains the ability to just have the camera float alongside him. So you go from the nauseating handheld camera shakiness to the graceful sweeping steady-cam shots that really bring you into the movie. The movie is also clever in a very sneaky way. You see when you watch a “found footage” movie the basic premise behind it is that we’re to believe, as an audience, that some regular schmoe stumbled upon some video tapes and we’re just watching the unedited footage found on that media. With Chronicle it feels more like the movie was found by a retired detective who became obsessed with the case and brought in all related media. We see Andrew editing footage we’ve already seen as well as get footage from Matt’s love interest and video blogger Casey Letter (Ashley Hinshaw, Rites Of Passage) and when the movie reaches its climax we are treated to all new forms of media from security cameras and police car dashboard cams to iPhones and laptop webcams.

The only problem I had was that they never really explain what it was that gave them their powers. My favorite parts of the movie both included the guys playing sports while using their powers. All in all, I thought the movie was highly enjoyable and totally worth the movie theater experience. It was a perfect blend of action, comedy and drama. It defines the meaning of the phrase “power corrupts”, but shows the sadness and loneliness that brings on the corruption.



~ by ATOM on February 7, 2012.

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