There are many movies nowadays that I see a trailer for and think “Now that would be a fine movie to watch on DVD.” I knew right away that Chronicle would fall under that category. The screenplay was written by Max Landis, son of director John Landis and also the creator of this comic book gem of a critique. The story is told in a found-footage style where all the important details of the story are ever-so-conveniently filmed. I’m not a big fan of this “genre,” but I’ll try to move past it as I dive into it.
Andrew Detmer is a shy high school student who lives in Seattle with his cancer-stricken mother and abusive alcoholic father. He recently bought a camera and films the goings-on of his everyday life: a forced friendship with his cousin Matt, getting bullied at school and getting beaten at home by his alcoholic father. Andrew reluctantly agrees to go to a big party with Matt, but gets thrown out for his new camera hobby. Just as he is about to leave, big man on campus Steve asks him to bring his camera down into a cave to film something he and Matt found. The three discover a large blue crystal structure underground that begins to glow red and gives them all nosebleeds. Shortly after we see that Andrew, Matt and Steve have telekinetic powers. They are able to move objects with their mind, but get nosebleeds if they try to push themselves too hard. The three boys spend most of their free time together honing their powers by playing pranks on people and showing off at school, eventually learning how to make themselves fly. As the story moves on one of our telekinetic lads becomes unhinged and starts to victimize people with his powers (could it be the boy who was picked on and beat by his daddy? I’ll never tell…) The end of the film of course is the expected showdown between hero and villain with superhuman abilities.
The plot of Chronicle is fairly predictable and has been seen scores of times before. Despite this, it still provides a believability from its characters. Would super powered teenagers automatically use their abilities to fight crime? Probably not. More likely, they would act like the boys in Chronicle do, by messing around and trying to impress girls. Ya know, like teenagers. Where the emotion of the film rings true for me, the delivery hurts it. I know I said I’d try to move past the fact that Chronicle uses found footage, but dammit I can’t! I can accept the convenience of its storytelling, but I can’t shake the feeling that the technique is superfluously used for its own sake. Chronicle is a standard movie cleverly masked in the current fad of “realism.” Besides, people don’t use cameras anymore. They use iPhones. SO unrealistic.
Final Grade: ★★★ 3/5 Stars
Rent it? If your other plans fall through, sure.