Friday Flicks: Chronicle
We’ve all had those daydreams where we think about what it would be like if we had Superpowers. If I were given the gift of flight, super strength, x-ray vision, or a resistance to pain, how would I use them and would it be for good or bad? This is the situation that the low-budget surprise sci-fi film Chronicle - released on Blu-ray and DVD May 15th from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment - places us in. Three high school friends, Andrew, Matt, and Steve, stumble across a gaping hole in the earth and decide to explore it after hearing some sounds coming from said hole. One thing leads to another and the three black out and the next time we see them, they are showing off their new found skills. Once they start realizing the potential of the newfound powers, things start to really get interesting!
This movie was not heavily advertised and I just happened to stumble across it when I was bored and wanted to see what was playing at the local theatre. Chronicle is a hand-held film; much in the same vein as The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, and Paranormal Activity. While I typically do not care for this type of view, Chronicle makes it work more than I have enjoyed it in any other film. Our viewpoint is the camera that Andrew, the films anti-hero, carries with him at all times to document his life. This style works so well in this movie because it allows us to fall into the reality of what it would be like if you were a casual passerby and witnessed these events as they happened. For example, we see the young men playing with their power, treating it as a toy and having some fun with it. We witness them firsthand, showing off their impenetrable skin via a fork stabbing, their ability to fly with an incredible game of football at 20,000 feet in the sky and telekinesis. But even with all of the fun they are having with their newfound superpowers, we also are beginning to see hints that there is something darker brewing beneath the surface.
While Matt and Steve are already the popular ones, Andrew is definitely the loner of the three. The other two are given these powers and this just adds to their already "happy" lives but Andrew takes his new abilities to another level. As we saw in the trailers, Andrew begins using his powers without thought for the harm of others, in one memorable scene, he uses his darker powers to run a truck run off the road and into a pond, which he passes off as an "accident". Andrew slowly becomes the strongest of the three, harnessing his powers for evil, as Matt explains, the powers are like a muscle. He also becomes even more unhappy and isolated. The friends attempt to console Andrew but this just makes things worse and the friends (and family) problems continue to become gravely worse.
Chronicle had me glued to the screen from the beginning and actually laughing with our main characters at times, feeling like I was involved in the hijinks on screen. First time director, Josh Trank, does an amazing job allowing the audience to see and feel the pain and angst that Andrew goes through, as well as documenting his growing status as a villian throughout the film. The pacing is also something that I enjoyed, as it never really slows down. The film very much builds to its ending, which is nice because it realistically portrays how authorities and people would respond to seeing someone flying or moving things with their mind, with fear and curiosity. Again, this is another pat on the back for the director for using this type of view because we can then see the main characters interacting but also how everyone else around them reacts once they realize what is happening.
While there are some parts I think could be trimmed (I don’t know how many times we need to see Andrew fight with his dad) the film as a whole keeps everything moving and even throws a twist or two your way. The plot may lead to some guessing about how it may end but it is still an enjoyable finale that left me satisfied and leaving the theatre with a smile. Even better, it had me thinking on the way home...if I had their powers, how would I handle them?
The Blu-Ray Combo Pack of the film features both the theatrical and the director's cut versions of the movie as well as extras like deleted scenes, the trailer and a camera test.
Download "Gold And Warm" by Bad Veins from the Chronicle soundtrack: http://soundcloud.com/milanrecords/bad-veins-gold-and-warm-from
For more info: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/ and http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1706593/
Review by guest contributor Josh Bohman from the Dial M For Movies Reviews blog check it out here: www.imafraidicantdothat.blogspot.com