Written by Max Landis
Directed by Josh Trank
Three high school students make an incredible discovery, leading to their developing uncanny powers beyond their understanding. As they learn to control their abilities and use them to their advantage, their lives start to spin out of control, and their darker sides begin to take over.
Chronicle was such a pleasant surprise. Maybe it’s my geek sensibilities that lulled me in, but I was instantly engrossed in the movie.
Andrew (Dane DeHaan) is a socially withdrawn kid with a dying mother and abusive drunk of a father; a tall order for your typical high school kid. Andrew decides to begin documenting everything with a camera. getting a remarkable insight into the life of a normal teenager along the way. He captures bullying to an extreme degree, daily life at school, the parties after school, and some rather touching and troubling moments with his parents.
Andrew, his cousin, Matt (Alex Russell), and Steve (Michael B. Jordan), the hopeful student body president, make a startling discovery in an isolated field outside a weekend party. Steve and Matt convince Andrew to bring his camera to what appears to be a landing point for a meteor or asteroid. The three kids descend into the underground cavernous trail and find themselves bathed in an ethereal blue light. At the end of the tunnel they find an, uh, what might be an alien artifact. When they leave their lives are forever changed.
Almost immediately the three kids find they have changed since the incident. In unison they begin discovering they now have unimaginable powers. They gain telekinesis and begin experimenting with the newly found power. They levitate small objects, stop baseballs in mid-air, and test their growing skill to control the power.
This premise, combined with these three outstanding and unknown actors produced something that instantly sucked me in. I found the opening moments completely engrossing, and I was only sucked in deeper as the movie progressed. This is a very genuine feeling movie, and that is such a phenomenal task in modern cinema.
The three friends ultimately discover their new powers to be nearly limitless. They gain the power of flight, they can produce invisible force fields, literally crush a car into a cube, and the list goes on. Chronicle is ultimately a very unassuming superhero origin movie at the heart, showing us the discovery of power, it’s learned and intensely practiced control, and the life-changing choices the empowered characters make. Comic book movies have a tendency to be really great or totally ridiculous; there aren’t many comic movies I feel just indifferent about. I give you the extreme examples of Batman Begins vs. Catwoman.
Telekinetic boob grabs rule.
Feeling more and more like Magneto to me, Andrew breaks away from his two friends as master of the new powers. Steve dies in an accident that Andrew allowed to happen and things travel south quickly from there. The climax of the film features Matt and the enraged Andrew having an epic citywide brawl.
This is a gem hidden in plain sight. People are legitimately wary of these found footage films. For every Blair Witch or Chronicle, we’re forced to endure a dozen pieces of shit like The Devil Inside. This genre is here to stay and it’s projects like Chronicle that take it a step further both in character development and special effects. I couldn’t look away, shoveling popcorn with delight for the short 84 minute run time. The hype surrounding this movie is well-deserved. If you know what a pull folder is, you will enjoy Chronicle.
One of the coolest things about Chronicle was the thought-provoking impact it had on me. I found myself wondering what I would do in this situation. Could I survive absolute power?