Three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery. Soon, though, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides.
watch Chronicle. Chronicles establish a reason to have the camera front and center, making this low-budget superpowers adventure feel more honest and intimate from the very start.
However, the stakes rise in Chronicle the found footage– which expands from Andrew’s (Dane DeHaan) camera to a whole slew of phones and security cameras– wears out its welcome. But Chronicle largely keeps up that sense of authenticity, and the movie’s ragged feel is only appropriate for the barely known actors and newcomer writer/director who made it happen.
Andrew is our window into the story, the lonely kid with the camera coping with an abusive dad (Michael Kelly) and a slowly dying mom, but the story doesn’t pick up until, by chance, he explores a mysterious cave in the company of his cousin Matt (Alex Russell) and popular kid Steve (MIchael B. Jordan). The trio discovers some odd glowing alien-ish life form, Andrew’s camera naturally goes on the fritz, and when he picks it back up all three boys have discovered they can move things with their minds. Jordan is the most experienced of the actors and it shows; his natural charisma and enthusiasm for what these powers can do lifts the story out of Andrew’s moping, though the more involved Andrew gets in developing his skills, it becomes clear his darkness will start winning out eventually. watch Chronicle.
It’s a neat twist to watch double-edged sword of super powers, where a troubled boy can choose to use it for good or take his revenge on the world that’s done him wrong. While that conflict nicely sets up the grand-scaled finale, the film’s best parts are in the discovery, when the boys figure out how to fly and play football in the clouds, or run around a toy store playing pranks just slightly more advanced than your average high school nonsense. Chronicle works well within its limits, but I almost wish it were even smaller, allowing more possibilities of how telekinesis might help or hurt you in high school, rather than giving in to the demands of the more typical superhero movie third act.
With CGI effects that range from passable to glaring, and a found footage gimmick that eventual hurts more than it helps, Chronicle isn’t a low-budget genre masterwork, but it’s also a whole lot better than many of the more traditional superhero movies we’ve seen. Lean and goal-oriented, with more than a few fresh ideas as well as an innate understanding of the hero’s journey storytelling, Chronicle marks an auspicious debut for Trank and Landis, a strong argument for Michael B. Jordan as a bona fide movie star, and a promising future for DeHaan and Russell. These guys haven’t quite transformed the superhero genre, but they seem capable of that– or pretty much anything else. watch new movies