Chronicle is the latest in ‘found footage’ films – where a story unfolds from video ‘found’ of an event so big that people were compelled to document the moment.
Directed by Josh Trank, the story follows 3 high schoolers – Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Matt (Alex Russell) and Steve (Michael B. Jordan) – who stumble upon a mysterious and unexplained shaft in the middle of the woods. Curious, they explore the tunnel and discover a glowing, alien-like life form.
Cut to the next scene and they suddenly have telekinetic abilities and they can seemingly do anything, getting more powerful throughout the film.
At first, they are loving it – who wouldn’t? – but it soon becomes too much for Andrew and he goes all Dark Phoenix.
This film is right up my alley. Since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed of something like this happening to me so I was totally looking forward to this. But, sadly that didn’t happen.
First of all, the set-up of the story takes too long. How many times do we need to be told that Andrew has an awful home life? We got it the first 5 times you told us. And we get that Matt is smart (or trying to make it seem like he is); having him constantly spout off quotes by Pluto and Jung only makes him seem like a douche. How many high school kids do you know who do that?
When the 3 get their powers, not one of them ever thinks about becoming some type of hero or using it for some type of good. They actually say that they never thought of that in the film. Huh? How is that possible?
One thing about ‘found footage’ films I’ve never liked is that the filmmakers don’t have to explain anything in the story. Something happens? Cut to another scene! We don’t have to give details, just make it so! Why is the hole there? Why does everyone in the Seattle document themselves? Why, why, why?
We are also conveniently have a character who has no other reason to exist except to hold another one of the camera’s.
And fine, I can go with not finding out the ‘why’s’ but one thing I can’t forgive is crappy acting. It totally takes me out of the story. Why is it that all of these types of films have awful performances? Seriously, some of the scenes had me cringing.
The only saving grace for me was the final 10/15 minutes. Trank is, I think, a fine director and it really is one of the better fight scenes I’ve seen in a while. So, if you can, skip the first hour and 15 minutes of the film and catch the last 15, I promise you this: You’ll love it!