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Chronicle (2012)

  Tags: Adam Schroeder Productions, Alex Russell, Ashley Hinshaw, Chronicle, Dane DeHaan, Davis Entertainment, found footage, high school, Josh Trank, Max Landis, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, pov, powers, students, teens

Your rating: None Average: 6 (5 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
7

chronicle.jpg
Rating #: 
7/10
Director: 
Josh Trank
Runtime: 
84 minutes
Cast: 
Michael B. Jordan, Alex Russell, Ashley Hinshaw, Dane DeHaan, Michael Kelly


I'm not particularly a fan of found-footage/POV films much, so I tend to avoid them. Chronicle, on the other hand, intrigued me from the start. The promise of regular teens gaining supernatural powers and watching their rise and fall unfold before our eyes via camera footage offered an interesting and realistic look to the usual superhero-type sub-genre. Added with the fact that one of the teens would eventually use his newfound gift for nefarious means meant we'd hopefully also see some familiar genre fair as well. I went into the theater hopeful and came out happy to find that the movie didn't disappoint.

We follow a few teenage friends as they stumble upon a strange hole in the ground in the nearby woods during a party. With the shy loner named Andrew documenting their every step, they make their way inside the hole and discover an extraordinary crystallized object emitting an overbearing sound that eventually knocks the boys and the camera out. In the next frame we find the guys in their backyard testing out their powers by throwing a baseball around and controlling its trajectory. The friends learn to harness their gifts as time goes on, eventually becoming superhuman beings, but at what cost?

The fact that our leads are teens makes it a much more interesting story, especially given how they deal with and use their powers. For the first half we watch they play pranks and use their powers just for fun. It's all something a normal teen would likely do with these gifts, and it made for some entertaining and hilarious scenes.  It isn't until later on that the troubled Andrew succumbs to his hatred towards his father and fate of his mother that things turn towards a more serious nature.

Chronicle may not be the most original of films, but it's definitely creative and well executed; making good use of the POV footage format, which in my opinion is a sub-genre that has been worn to death as-of-late. One of the leads (the loner Andrew) feels the need to document everything, and considering what he's taping, is an understandably good reason for always having the camera running. We're also shown footage from CC, phones and other handheld cameras, which are all mashed together, primarily at the end when things seriously start to kick into gear to reveal an epic finale.

Naturally with films using this type of format there are some instances where the camera proves to be a little unnecessary or indestructible. Like one scene where a female video blogger turns on her camera just to answer the door, WTF? or a sequence where the camera still works properly while the boys are flying above the clouds, but I suppose we can assume that the camera was shielded by some kind of barrier to prevent it from malfunctioning. Either way, these are minor things that can be overlooked, as we submerse ourselves into the characters and story.

For the most part the effects were pretty good, and didn't take away much from the realism that the filmmakers were goin' for, which was something I was worried about early on. I've seen a lot of films, especially found-footage pics ruining a perfectly good scene by using cheesy CG effects. Though the flick does get a bit darker as it progresses, it didn't quite get as dark as I was hoping. I read that the script is actually pretty violent and gory in parts, but given that the movie is PG-13, it's understandable. I suppose my only real gripe with the film would have to be its ending, which I thought was a bit lackluster, it's an otherwise good movie.

Chronicle is a fun and interesting look at what would happen if a few teens became superhuman. Seen through the eyes of several different cameras, the flick details their rise and fall thanks to the powerful gift they were given. The filmmakers made good use of the POV style, delivering some creativity and realism behind this dark story, and definitely proves to be one of the better additions to the normally clichéd found-footage sub-genre.

Posted on February 7, 2012 - 2:54pm | FrighT MasteR

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