Movie Review: Chronicle

While I originally intended to use this site solely for my story, lately I’ve been thinking that putting only my story on here and then just leaving it alone is not taking fully advantage of this creative outlet that is the internet. So I’m ALSO going to use it to praise or lambaste recent films. Write that down- “lambaste.” Our first movie to discuss is “Chronicle.”

Chronicle is the story of three high school students, Matt, Steve, and Andrew straying from a party one night to find a particular object that gives them superpowers; or a superpower, specifically telekinesis.  After a good bit of fun and games with their newfound skill , the trio become more experienced, eventually leading the abused and bullied Andrew to wonder whether or not a limit to his abilities even matters.

Shot in “Mockumentary” style, Chronicle follows in the tradition of its celluloid predecessors by slowly letting you get to know the characters just well enough before the story kicks in. And when it does, you don’t want it to stop. One might think that after so many Comic book movies, three kids with superpowers wouldn’t have enough meat to it, but the way Chronicle handles the story, it instead makes you realize how careless other Comic properties have been; merely washing over the aspect of being able to do something cool instead of savoring such a severe, supernatural gift. Tormented Andrew, who documents most of the story through his own camera, made me especially glad that such limitless abilities aren’t in existence for fear that some butthole teenager might get ahold of them and get revenge on people that have made his life a living Hell (or maybe just made him mad). What’s worse is to think that they’d even get away with it. Dane DeHaan, who plays sad lil Andy fills the role quite well in my opinion; having you feel sorry for him as his alcoholic father treats him like a punching bag, while in other scenes making you hate him for abusing his gifts and taking his frustration out on his friends. By the way, a couple shots in the film look as though DeHaan REALLY does get slapped in the head, causing me to cringe, even if just for a moment.

My real issue with the film isn’t the acting or story, so much as it was the special effects: The CGI here ain’t exactly state-of-the-art. I was occasionally taken out of the moment with how noticeable the digitally rendered baseballs, legos, or people were. I guessed the budget before looking it up, and wouldn’t ya know it, I was right on the money (ha!) at 15 million. For the style of film making, that’s pretty high up there, considering the original Paranormal Activity and Blair Witch was shot for 1 million. But the story here is much too ambitious for that small a budget. Objects and people are constantly flying or thrown, floating or demolished. Blair Witch had people running in the woods and hanging out in freaking tents. In all honesty, I’d have to elaborate on something a friend said in that it should have been shot as a regular film and just given a decent budget. Still, I have to give it up to director Josh Trank for putting a unique spin on the home camera approach by using not only Andrew’s camera, but others’ cellphones, security cameras, and various recording devices.

All in all, I liked this movie. It explored the possibilities of what a decent kid might do given the option of never being caught, while not getting so dragged down in the melodrama of what makes you care in the first place. I also like that the Mockumentary Subgenre has another decent fim behind it because the prospect of seeing abnormal things from a “real” perspective onscreen is still intriguing to me. When it’s done right of course. And Chronicle has done it right.

 Devil Inside or The Last Exorcism? Not so much.

GRADE: B

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One Response to “Movie Review: Chronicle”

  1. The movie would have been so much better if they did not use their iPhone to film the whole thing

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