Nearly every child dreams of having one super power or another when they are younger, whether it is super strength, the ability to fly or some form of extraordinary ability. Most stem from comic books, cartoons or some other inspirational place. What we fail to think about is what effect the powers would have on us, our psyches and our temperaments.
That’s what “Chronicle” focuses on as first-time director Josh Trank shows us what happens when ordinary teenagers find themselves with extraordinary abilities and how a predisposition in one’s personality can be amplified for the better or worse. Representing the “found-footage” genre in a way never seen before, “Chronicle” is a ride from start to finish and you won’t want it to end.
We start off by meeting Andrew (Dane DeHaan), a less-than-average high school student who is invisible to the rest of his senior class. A loner at heart, Andrew doesn’t have it any better at home, with a mother who is very sick and a father who can’t cope and turns his frustrations on Andrew, who decides to start filming every aspect of his daily life.
When Andrew’s cousin Matt (Alex Russell) decides to take him under his wing, things begin to start looking better. At a high school rave, Matt and his friend Steve (Michael B. Jordan) find a mysterious hole out in a clearing behind the warehouse and bring Andrew along. As they descend deeper into this cavern, they discover something that they can’t explain and then things get intense and weird.
Weeks later, we catch up with the three boys and in the time the camera was off they have discovered that they now have special abilities — specifically telekinesis (the power to move or effect objects with your mind) — and they are learning the more they use these powers the stronger they become. Andrew now has two new best friends as they bond over these superhuman powers.
As they grow stronger, the three begin to go bigger with their demonstrations of these powers, which becomes fractured when Andrew goes a step too far and someone is hurt. Fearing this could happen again, they set some rules, the most important being, no using them on living creatures. But as he gets stronger, Andrew begins to realize he can do as he wants now. When Matt and Steve’s friendship towards Andrew starts to falter, he realizes it and begins to withdraw and descend to a much darker place. As all hell breaks loose, there is chaos as Andrew goes on a rampage across the city attracting attention from everywhere as he blatantly shows off his powers and his mindset to do as he pleases since he is clearly the dominate one now.
Found-footage films have been around for years, typically used in the horror genre to scare you. What “Chronicle” has done is mix this close personal filming style with the superhero and changed the look and feel of this genre forever. In a way completely unique to this film, the camera changes from a first-person perspective to wider majestic shots as it becomes controlled though telekinesis and floats above the boys as they push their powers to the limit. So unlike films that have come before this, “Chronicle” has the means to show the world in a grander way that will impress.
The three main leads blend together flawlessly and execute just the right away of fun, drama, comedy and anger as they go through these unreal experiences together and become closer friends in the process. I was impressed by Dane Dehaan, as he has the shy boy look, but also shows what pure anger and rage look like.
The end result was pretty clear from the beginning, but the trip to get there was amazing and exciting. This movie is paced perfectly as there is always something important happening and once it begins to dip into the darker part of Andrew’s personality, it becomes even more exciting.
I enjoyed the movie and its fun yet darker content. I would recommend seeing this movie in theaters as the scale is amplified by the big screen. Some of the content might be a little rough for younger viewers looking to see heroes onscreen, but there are many lessons to be learned in this film. With a fresh concept, visionary director, great writing and awesome characters that either charm or scare you, you will be intrigued and won’t want to look away.
“Chronicle” is in theaters now and is rated PG-13 for intense action, violence, thematic material, language, and sexual content.
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