Chronicle – Movie Review

movie reviewI had Chronicle on my radar for a while now. Heard a lot good things, especially about one of the actors in it. Now I finally came around watching it. The movie certainly does what it’s supposed to do. It’s entertaining and much better than expected.

Over the past couple of years we had a lot of superhero movies from Spiderman to Ironman and Batman. We also had a lot of ‘found footage’ movies like Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity. While the superhero movies overall do a nice job, the quality of the ‘found footage’ ones is quite debatable. Most of the time it’s real crap. Cloverfield does it right though. And so does Chronicle. Even if you could argue about the fact if Chronicle really is a found footage movie. It certainly is, from a technical point of view, treated like one.

The story is about three highschool kids, Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Matt (Alex Russell) and Steve (Michael B. Jordan) who meet on a party. While taking a break and fresh air they discover a hole with tunnel not far away. That tunnel leads to a strange piece of rock. Its appearance is definitely nothing from our world so it’s probably something alien. It’s not further explained and there actually is no need for an explanation. Sure enough something weird happens. Soon enough they discover that suddenly they have sort of telekinetic powers.

The movie most of the time follows Andrew. His home situation is pretty sadand frustrating. His father is lost cause and drinker while his mother is sick and barely living anymore. Andrew is also the character that has an arc in this movie. He starts out as a shy teenager and lone wolf. Through the happenings he finally gets some closer friends who really seem to care. Things happen at home and this new found friendship gets problematic. Andrew’s father really treats him like a piece of dirt, screams at him and makes him down whenever possible. It’s only natural that Andrew gets angry and his whole situation drives him mad. And, to be honest, I felt really sad for the character. Mostly because the movie is pretty realistic in showing how these things happen in certain family situations.

While all kinds of personal things going on, our three friends also discover that their powers are growing stronger. Andrew recognizes that and takes advantage of it. A couple of things happen and when Andrew is trying to find a way to help his sick mother, things get out of control.

Dane Dehaan plays his part phenomenal. From the first minute on you believe his character Andrew. He really nails that teenager feeling of not being one of the cool guys. Andrew is always trying to stay in the background and still gets picked on all the time. Dane Dehaan manages it to give the frustration and pain a real face. He also succeeds in portraying the arc Andrew is going through. Especially in his final scene, which I found very powerful, he’s almost embracing his pain and begging for salvation. Great work by this young actor there.

Despite a couple of plot holes here and there it all works. It’s easy to forgive since some decisions complement the overall plot and its developments. While other ‘found footage’ movies often come up with really stupid solutions to the ‘found footage’ problematic, Chronicle made it right. They found good ways to explain why there are cameras around and how it’s possible. Sometimes you’re wondering though why they insisted on it. I think the movie would have worked either way. The ‘found footage’ fact doesn’t play a big role but also does not hurt the movie. The production costs of 12mio dollars are relatively low but the VFX worked good enough. Nonetheless you can see what VFX parts had more work invested into them than others. But that’s forgivable from my point of view. The overall story of these three kids is more important.

Yes it’s definitely one of the best found footage movies around. I still think it wasn’t a necessary feature but either way it worked fine. The characters are fun and the story really captivating. After seeing it I thought, “yeah… that’s probably a realistic take on the ‘what if I had superpowers’ theme”. It really is a good movie and it stands out. Watch it if you have a chance!


Chronicle on IMDb

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