I was pretty excited to see this movie ever since I caught the trailer last year and immediately included it in my 2012 movie bucket list. One thing that caught my attention was its similarity to Cloverfield, and the general premise and potential of the film.
Directed by first-time movie director Josh Trank, Chronicle is the story of a disturbed teenager Andrew (Dane Deehan), who is abused by his peers in school and beaten up by his drunkard dad at home. He buys a videocam and starts recording everything from his home life to his high school days and even his limited social life. One time, his cousin and only friend Matt (Alex Russel) encourages him to go to a rave party where, together with student politician Steve (Michael B. Jordan), they find a mysterious hole in the middle of the woods that leads them to a glowing crystal formation. Pretty soon, the boys discover that they have the power to move things with their minds (telekinesis) and as they grow stronger, Andrew’s troubles begin to influence the use of his powers and pushes him to lash out at the world that has shunned him for the longest time.
Personally, I am a big fan of movies with no big name actors to sell the film but still manage to make things work because of a strong concept and solid performances from the cast. Chronicle is an example of these movies. The three leads are all relatively new to big screen roles, mainly bagging parts on TV series prior this sci-fi feature. However, from the very beginning where they portray a bunch of guys pulling pranks and clowning around with their ‘gifts’ until the story takes a darker turn and Andrew begins to spiral out of control, they were able to go with the flow and perform according to the dictates of the script, which was rife with a lot of fun potshots and zingers at the beginning and a many gut twisting moments and nerve wracking scenes towards the end.
Because the film was shot documentary style, some cuts were abrupt but the transitioning to the next scenes were quite good, and I appreciated the fact that despite the treatment, the shots were not too shaky a la Blair Witch and was presented realistically as amateur footage without being too amateur.
The story was quite simple but the treatment made it fresh. There was no great mystery to solve, because the focus was not really to unravel the secret of the crystal but rather how it impacted the lives of three teenagers who have different personalities and treated their powers in different ways. The direction of the movie was clear from the onset and that is why I take my hat off to the filmmakers and the cast for this great outcome. I’m glad that I included this on my list. I would strongly recommend this to sci-fi enthusiasts (read: geeks like myself) and fans of unconventional types of movies. I, for one, loved it.