Director: Joshua Trank
Writer: Max Landis (screenplay & story), Joshua Trank (story)
Cast: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly
One night, three high school friends discover a mysterious crater in the middle of the woods. In the midst of investigating the crater, the three high schoolers discover an object of unknown origin which gives them each telekinetic powers.
In what was probably one of the more innovative found footage films since Cloverfield—in my opinion—Chronicle is an interesting film to be on the lookout for. No exorcisms, ghosts or evil spirits in this film; just a bunch of regular high schoolers who discover an object that gives them all telekinetic powers. I mean, this is the perfect film for any person who has ever wondered what life would be like if they suddenly acquired superpowers.
Chronicle starts off with the main character Andrew (Dane DeHaan) with his decision to document his life through a video camera. This is what sets up the film’s premise of being a found footage style film, while providing exposition for his character in the type of life he’s living. Right off the bat we’re shown just how bad he’s got it in life. He’s got an alcoholic and abusive father, an ill mother and a really terrible social life in high school as he is the subject of bullying. This sets us up to see his fall from grace because we already know from the trailer that he does eventually start abusing his powers for the wrong purposes.
From there the film moves along quickly in introducing the other two main characters, Matt (Alex Russell) and Steve (Michael B. Jordan), and setting up the events and circumstances that lead to these three characters gaining their powers. Once they do get their telekinetic powers and begin experimenting with them Chronicle picks up really quickly. What’s great about this segment in the film is that I found it totally relatable in that I could picture myself doing the exact same things they do.
It’s also during their experimentation of their powers that we really see these three characters bond and deepen their friendship since they come from different social circles in school. We have Andrew the outcast, Andrew’s cousin Matt is the intellectual that is distanced from the whole social scene, and Steve is your socialite. Despite three completely different social standings they end up becoming really close friends thanks to the one thing that separates them from everyone else—their telekinetic powers.
This all eventually leads to their eventual fallout. Circumstances in Andrew’s life push him to the edge where his mental instability begins to merge with his growing telekinetic powers. The fact that I was genuinely sold on their friendship makes the fallout even more tragic for me because just when you think Andrew’s life has turned a corner—and you really feel happy for him—shit just hits the fan. Andrew isn’t mentally capable of handling it on his own and he shuts himself off from the people that really could have helped him.
The climax is what it is, but the last thing I really want to highlight about the film is the way that it is amazingly filmed in found footage style. Joshua Trank really found some creative ways to work around the limitations of found footage filming and it works in the context of the film and its content. This is especially apparent during the Chronicle’s climax and I was absolutely amazed at all the different angles and shots Trank managed to take from the cameras used. From a film standpoint, this was one of the most refreshing visual takes on climactic fight.
By the end I was just loving Chronicle. It honestly has the potential to be a Top 10 film of the year because it is that good. The performances are all really good coming from new comers, the visual effects are solid, the camaraderie and friendship the characters build is genuine and the found footage style is innovative.
Chronicle has all the elements of a great film. Definitely a film you should check out.
GO Rating: 4/5