Director: Josh Trank
Starring: Dane DeHaan,
Michael B Jordan, Michael Kelly, Alex Russell
Amongst the seemingly never-ending flood of superhero and found-footage projects
released in recent years, it would be easy to write-off Chronicle as just another derivative grab for cash.
However, following recent underwhelming faux ‘documentaries’ (such as The Devil Inside) and high profile, but ultimately uninspired hero flicks (Green Lantern), it’s safe to say Chronicle is poised to genuinely surprise a lot of moviegoers with intriguing characters, creative visuals, and a gripping central storyline.
The film follows the exploits of average teens Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Steve (Michael B. Jordan), and Matt (Alex Russell), who encounter a mysterious entity that results in them developing telekinetic abilities.
Instead of the usual flat and shallow protagonists we have come to expect from the genre, Andrew, Steve, and Matt each have interesting interpersonal dynamics and arcs that flourish as they explore both their abilities and their newly formed friendships.
While the succeeding events might be somewhat familiar to comic book movie regulars, the characters offer plenty of entertaining and believable moments – even after the movie takes a dark turn.
However, the most interesting aspect of the film is the cinematography. While there’s no shortage of awkward ways in which the events of Chronicle are caught on film, some of the implementations represent a major step up for the genre.
Early on, Andrew perfects the ability to move the camera with his telekinetic powers, resulting in far more dynamic and fluid cinematography.
It also uniquely allows all the characters to be in various scenes, instead of always having one hiding behind the camera.
Occasionally the format is a self-imposed limitation which leads to moments of contrivance – notably the inclusion of another student who is also documenting her life and handily provides another perspective.
But for the most part it’s an inventive and fresh look at what can be done with the medium, and is worth watching for that reason alone.
In sum, Chronicle isn’t just a unique found-footage movie or superhero film, it’s an enjoyable blend of the best each genre has to offer, even if that’s not a particularly
high bar to clear.