As much as some people would never admit, there’s a little nerd inside us all, that dreams what it would be like to have super powers. Would you use them for good? Or would you use them for evil? Chronicle explores this topic with the documentary/mock-umentary/ shaky-cam genre we’ve all grown to love – or hate – depending on who you are.

 

Chronicle

Starring: Dane DeHann, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, Ashley Hinshaw

I am a big fan of superhero, disaster-type movies and as a writer, Chronicle covers those topics I’ve always dreamed about writing about.

Premise: Three high school students, as different as can be – Andrew (the shy, awkward, bullied teen) Matthew (the nerdy, but good looking social, teen), and Stephen (the uber-popular, school president teen) –  find themselves, with super powers after exploring a cave giving off strange sounds and lights. At first they use their powers to play with legos, pull pranks on each other, and play football high above the city (yes they learn how to fly), but as their powers grow stronger they find out how their differences and circumstances define them and their use of their powers.

My Review: Somehow, Chronicle was what I expected to be, and not what I expected it to be at the same time. It was exciting, thrilling, captivating, suspenseful, even scary at times. It was filled with high school angst and teenage bullying and the quest to be accepted by your friends and family when you’re the odd ball out. But at other times I felt it lacked charm. And at a short 83 minutes the movie got really really dark and really really disturbing, really really fast.

I appreciated the fact that Chronicle decided to explore the flip side to all those glamorous, mainstream-type of super hero movies. The movie was was gritty, dirty, raw, and emotional. We weren’t distracted by shiny objects, flashy futuristic gadgets, crazy scientists trying to hunt them down, or stretchy leather/spandex outfits. They were just kids, who found themselves with a lot of power.

Andrew (Dane DeHann), Matthew (Alex Russell), and Stephen (Michael B. Jordan) balanced each other out nicely. Whenever Andrew got too angsty (yes that’s a ROCP patented word) or Matthew got too neurotic, or Stephen got too “I’m the most popular kid in the world and I can make you one too” the kinds found ways to bring each other back to reality with – their powers – if you can believe that. It’s because their powers were their common link. No matter how different those kids were they had a bond that would – or could – last a life time.

However, this movie wasn’t without its flaws. But I think those flaws come with any documentary shaky cam type storytelling. Cloverfield had it, Paranormal Activity had it, I didn’t see Blair Witch project but I’m sure it had that problem too. How do you move the story along in a real life/real time type of setting? Well, with the camera spontaneously going out or malfunctioning as to just skip over all the plot holes, that’s how. There are many climatic moments in the film where the camera just cuts out and it cuts to days later after the fact. I wish the writers explored those instances more rather then using cheap tricks to get around explaining it.

All in all, this movie is one not to miss. It took some crazy and unexpected turns that accumulated to a climatic finale. I found myself with my hand over my mouth for the last 10 minutes. Check it out and try not to get caught up on all the small details that can irritate a person (me!)

Rating: 3 ½ Stars.

Random Thoughts: Dear Filmmakers, when an actor is in a “supposedly” cold, snowy atmosphere, we should be able to see his breath when he talks/breathes. From, Rants of a Crazy Person

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