Have you ever gone to a restaurant and enjoyed your food only to see your waiter licking all of the forks he lays down on the table, thus ruining your meal after you’ve already enjoyed it? Thankfully, “Chronicle” was nothing like that.
“Chronicle” is one of the year’s first anticipated sci-fi releases, directed by Josh Trank and written by Max Landis, based on a story written by both of them. It stars Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan and Alex Russell as a group of high school seniors who acquire telekinetic abilities, recording the events that transpire as a result of their new found powers. The film is pleasantly surprising, and sure to be entertaining for audiences.
Soon after discovering his ability, the main character, Andrew, begins to carry the camera around with him telekinetically, which serves a greater purpose in the plot by actually making him stronger through the constant use of his power. “Chronicle” is one of those movies that incorporates the faux-realistic hand camera style of shooting, the migraine-inducing technique pioneered by “The Blair Witch Project” and beaten over heads with the likes of “Cloverfield,” “Quarantine” and the “Paranormal Activity” series. However, at least “Chronicle” tries to put a few creative twists in their use of the method. It allows for more original shots and angles; some of the more impressive bits in the movie includes the trio flying and falling through Seattle clouds. Still, “Chronicle” does suffer a bit from this dependency on hand cameras; there is a character whose sole purpose is to also carry a hand camera around for her own reasons, allowing the perspective to switch if it makes no sense at all (as opposed to just little sense) for the main character to be carrying his at that moment.
One issue the movie never really dives into are the details as to how the super powers are given. Andrew films himself going into a cave with his cousin, Matt, and popular school athlete, Steve, and there they find a big blue crystal that endows them with the super powers. But after that, we never hear about or see said crystal again, nor was it ever explained what it was and how it functioned.
That being said, it isn’t all too important in the long run. The focus of the story is Andrew’s progression into a monster, so the alien space crystal is more or less just a plot device. Andrew lives with a dying mother and a terribly abusive father and is endlessly harassed at school. He is in a position of powerlessness with nobody who cares about him but his sick mother and his cousin, Matt, who is usually more interested in hanging out with Steve and the other camera-obsessed girl. Thus, when he is given a tremendous amount of power and pushed over the edge, he begins causing pain and destruction to those around him. It reminds one of a school shooting, or any other tragedy in which an abused person harms others to feel a sense of power and control over their lives.
The action scenes and acting aren’t anything noteworthy, but they are nonetheless entertaining. While far from brilliant, “Chronicle” is worth viewing for those who enjoy films of the genre.