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Chronicle

by

Jeff Nelson

Chronicle is entertaining, thrilling, and a lot of fun to watch.

Chronicle
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Instead of speaking about the background of films utilizing found footage, I will simply state that Chronicle is in this sub-genre. That isn't too important. What's important is what it brings to the table. Before I walked into the press screening, I wasn't quite sure what genre would be primarily holding its ground. Drama? Sci-fi? Action? Well, to be quite honest, the filmmakers use all three genres. Sure, one could state that Chronicle is a science fiction flick due to the fact that it has to do with superpowers, along with other elements. The drama department certainly kicks in from the get-go, before any superpowers are acquired. The action should be expected, although it doesn't kick into high gear until the final act. In conclusion, Chronicle meshes the three genres together, yet manages to create something rather interesting.

Three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery. Soon, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides. There have been a lot of superhero movies trying to think outside the box since the generic comic book heroes and villains are becoming a bit stale over the years. There have been many superhero flicks with teenagers having the abilities. I realize that the concept isn't very realistic, but try to rationalize it. If a teenager was to have super abilities, what would they use it for? Good? Evil? I see a teenager using his or her abilities selfishly for themselves and could spiral out of control just like ones emotions during that troubling time. This is what Chronicle explores. Surprisingly, the script is well-crafted. It isn't a masterpiece, but the pacing is spot-on. This isn't for those looking for a pure-blooded action flick, but somebody who wants to explore the characters a bit more and have one hell of a finale. The super abilities that have been obtained are much more like a muscle than just powers. They aren't able to simply use them on the spot. Characters Andrew, Matt, and Steve have to exercise this "muscle" in order to strengthen it. Once the final act approaches, all hell breaks loose. The lines between good and evil are certainly blurred. However, this final action sequence is extremely entertaining and is sure to have moviegoers engrossed. The ending is sure to be split. Some will say that it's unnecessary while others will think that it has its place in the story. I believe that it has connections to our modern day society with mistreated, misunderstood, and depressed teenagers losing control without asking for help. The final moments of the movie shows how somebody cares, but it's too late.

If you're expecting to see a well-known cast, as many superhero movies are advertised, you'll be disappointed. The main three leads won't be recognized. This initially worried me since I didn't know what these three actors could do without them having very much experience. They took me by surprise. This is certainly a talented young cast. They're all believable in the given roles and will easily convince audiences worldwide of the characters. Dane DeHaan plays the unwinding character, Andrew. He really relates to the audience in a more unsettling fashion than the other characters. I felt sympathy for him, but at the same time was aware that he was drunk with power. The dynamics between the two extremes are done naturally by DeHann. Alex Russell performs as a more reserved character, Andrew's cousin Matt. His range isn't called upon as much as for the character of Andrew, but he still is just as believable in his role. Michael B. Jordan does well with Steve, although viewers don't get the chance to explore his character as much as Andrew and Matt.

Found footage flicks, such as Cloverfield, turned a lot of viewers off due to the excessive camera movements. It caused many to feel sick and not able to see what's even going on. Viewers won't have any problems with this for Chronicle. In fact, it's quite interesting how the camera angles are set. Andrew often uses his abilities to control the camera's position with his abilities in order to capture everything that's going on. In the final act, audiences get to experience switching cameras numerous times. One moment we will be looking through a cop car's camera and another a helicopter's. Director Josh Trank effectively used the different cameras to his advantage. I am very glad to report that this isn't a complete CGI affair. While there are some expected green screens used during the flying sequences, the action scenes that were done in front of the camera as opposed to being edited in. Cars are being pushed, flipped, and blown up without the use of CGI. However, the visual effects that did call upon CGI did appear to be a bit dodgy at times, but it isn't much to complain about. The final action scene in specific looks and sound phenomenal.

I found myself enjoying Chronicle even more than I imagined I would. It's entertaining, thrilling, and a lot of fun to watch. The film takes its time to introduce the characters and set the story before the portions with the super abilities kick in. The screenplay is good and its represented by a talented, young cast. Even though this is Director Josh Trank's film debut, he has provided us with a good film. I look forward to see what else he may have in store for moviegoers. Chronicle isn't perfect, but it's definitely a solid movie that comes recommended.

My Rating = Four Stars

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