Chronicle (2012) – Josh Trank

I’m tired of hand-held, found footage type films. That being said, I rather liked this film, though I personally would have preferred it was shot without the hand held stuff, though some of it does work really well!

It’s a nice updated take on the basic superhero/super-villain story, and the final battle put me in mind of the sprawling battle in Metropolis in Superman II.

In addition to the 1st person camera work, although it does intercut with other film sources, I’m a little disappointed in the film’s run time. Credits in the film runs one hour and twenty three minutes. There’s no real time to develop characters.

On the flip side, the film does have some really nice moments – like the flying sequences. I have dreams that go like that.

But I’m ahead of myself, the film follows a young rather brow beaten young man, Andrew (Dane DeHaan). He has an unhappy school life where he’s bullied, an unhappy home life with an abusive father, and a dying mother, and of course all of this combines to makes him bitter, even towards his cousin Matt (Alex Russell).

He tries to distance himself from everyone by using first video camera, and then a digital camera. to recoed everything. One night, when he’s dragged by Matt to a party, he meets up with Steve (Michael B. Jordan) who, along with Matt shows him an unsual hole in the ground. The trio venture inside it, and are exposed to some… Thing, which causes a reaction in their bodies, causing bloody noses, and soon… heightened psychic abilities, in effect making them burgeoning super heroes.

There’s some fun sequences early on as they start to experiment with their newly discovered powers, stopping and manipulating objects,  and then experimenting with flight. The flying sequences end up being my favorites in the entire film.

trioAs the three of them continue to work these new muscles, Andrew begins to pull ahead of them in the abilities department, and he’s the first who begins to slide, his powers and his use of them begin to hurt people.

His father’s abusive beahvior towards him begins to turn him against Matt and Steve, and the lines are drawn for a confrontation when Andrew goes too far.

If the film had’ve been expanded a little more, it could have been an epic take on the superhero movie. Unfortunately, with it’s drastically short run time, you aren’t given time enough to feel anything for the characters, and are merely kept as an observer. That added to the hand-held camera work, though some of the shots are very smooth, because of their abilities did nothing but keep me seperated from the film.

I will say that the showdown between Matt and Andrew that forms the film’s climax was really well done, the flying and confrontations between the two of them are great, because it does take the old standard of having two friends ending up on opposite sides of the battle. If I was more involved with the characters, it would have been really emotionally powerful.

It was an interesting take on the superhero movie, but wasn’t as strong as it could have been…

What did you think?


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