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Chronicle: Movie Review

Submitted by on February 6, 2012 – 4:03 pm2 Comments

Chronicle is a solid teen angst movie. It brings to life the hardships of high school, especially for a boy with a lot of other problems in his life. Oh yeah… and there’s flying and telekinesis (and aliens?). But those looking for pure special effects driven violence will be pleasantly surprised (or disappointed).

The movie centers around moody, introspective Andrew (Dane DeHann): he has an alcoholic father, terminally ill mother, and he’s unpopular at school. His cousin Matt (Alex Russell) is a handsome, philosophy-spouting cool kid, whose best friend Steve (Michael B. Jordan) is the jokester class president. Then they find something (once again, alien?) that gives them the power to move things with their minds. They could have lived happily ever after using these powers for magic tricks; but Andrew’s home life deteriorates further, forcing him to take drastic measures, and finally pushing him over the edge.

This very human arc really carried the movie well. Director Josh Trank and screenwriter Max Landis show a lot of restraint holding off on the biggest explosions and mayhem until the very end. Up until that point, every scene is really imbued with the difficulties, awkwardness, and humor of the best high school films, even the scenes that take place thousands of feet in the air.

In fact, one fault I found with the film was when it stopped trusting the human element of the story. As Andrew grows out of control, he blames it in part on the powers “becoming a part of him” and taking over; but I thought this justification was unnecessary and even cheapened the drama a little.

Much of the discussion around Chronicle, which is perhaps the best film in the tail end of the “found-footage” wave, centers around the questions “Who is filming this?” and “Why?” The movie opens with Andrew taping himself, saying he just bought a new camera and is going to film everything. Fair enough; it makes sense for the weird kid at school to retreat behind a camera. But why didn’t any administrators stop him from filming at school? And what cameras were still rolling during the movie’s apocalyptic climax? And was that love interest introduced just because she is a “blogger” who also constantly videotapes stuff? And while we’re at it, why doesn’t Matt know or care that is aunt is dying? You know what, don’t overthink it, and you’ll be fine.

Besides, the film closes with a character promising to find out the truth about how they got their powers, so it looks like we might be getting more answers in Chronicle 2: Even Chroniclier.

Did you see Chronicle? What did you think?

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