Introverted Andrew (Dane DeHaan) lives with his alcoholic
(Michael Kelly) and bed-ridden mother (Bo
Petersen) in a bad neighborhood. He has recently
purchased a used video camera and has begun filming everything in his
life, including his father's violent outbursts and his daily beatdown
at the hands of bullies in the high school hallway.
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Alex
Michael B. Jordan
Through Andrew's camera
lens, we see that he
gets a ride to school every day from his cousin, Matt (Alex Russell),
who is his only friend. Matt repeatedly tries to get Andrew
to socialize with other kids in school, especially girls. So,
when Matt invites Andrew to a party
at an abandoned
barn, Andrew grudgingly accepts even though Matt tells him to leave his
camera at home.
While at the party, Andrew is approached by the super-popular Steve
Montgomery (Michael B. Jordan). Steve wants Andrew to film
something that he and Matt have discovered behind the barn.
Andrew hesitantly follows Steve and finds a hole in
the ground that leads into a cave. Inside the cave, the three
boys find a glowing object that emits a high-pitched noise, changes
colors, and begins interfering with the camera. After a blast
of energy emits from the object, the trio are knocked unconscious.
After waking up and making their way back home, the boys find that they
have all gained the ability to move objects with their minds.
Excited at the possibilities of this discovery, they all
begin trying out their newfound power and find that it seems to get
stronger the more they use it. Soon, they graduate from
stacking Lego blocks to moving cars and levitating themselves through
But when Andrew accidentally pushes a car off the road -- nearly
killing the driver -- it becomes clear that they'll need to keep these
powers in check or face the consequences.
Using a variant of the "found footage" genre, much
like last year's Apollo 18,
every shot in Chronicle
is from either a fixed location (such as a security camera) or a
portable video camera. In most found footage
movies, the story is comprised of something that no one knew
about until the footage was "found." Here, there's no good
reason for the movie to be made up entirely of video camera footage.
Thankfully, director Josh Trank has come up with a gimmick
that keeps the film from being a mess of shaky-cam footage for the
entire movie. (Andrew has the ability to float his camera around the
While it does ask the
audience to believe that three teenage boys can obtain superpowers, Chronicle's
script takes the time to let us get to know them and understand why
they act the way they do in the movie. Andrew, who has never
had any reason to feel special in his life, has the hardest time
adjusting to his newfound talents. His awkwardness is
palpable. Dane DeHaan does an excellent job portraying this
aspect of the character. I also have to applaud the fact that the
characters in Chronicle never
attempt to become superheroes or fight crime. They don't
instantly have a use for their abilities; they just want to see what
they can do with them and are constantly finding out about them.
frustrate those looking for a cut-and-dried superhero flick. It's
actually more of a character study than an action film. And
that's exactly what I liked about it. That's not to say that
nothing exciting happens. The action just takes a
backseat to the story in Chronicle.
When the action does take place, the special effects are, for the
most part, good. The effects are fairly CGI-heavy and some scenes
look that way. But for a film that was made for $12 million, I am
impressed with its overall look.
in the footsteps of "regular guy turns superhero" movies like Kick-Ass,
manages to separate itself from the pack by delivering a story that's
more anchored in reality than one might expect from a film dealing with
super powers such as flying and telekinesis.
Manage your expectations and you should find it an enjoyable
Dane DeHaan will be seen next in 2012's Jack and Diane,
with Jena Malone. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)