Movie Review: Chronicle

Details from IMDB:

Chronicle Poster

53

Chronicle (I) (2012)

PG_13  84 min  -  Action | Drama | Sci-Fi   -  3 February 2012 (Canada)

Ratings: 7.5/10 from 22,485 users   Metascore: 69/100
Reviews: 216 user | 217 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

Three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery. Soon, though, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides.

 

Initial Thoughts:

I had heard about the interesting promotion done for this movie (tiny planes meant to look like people) and I had heard good reviews, so I was looking forward to seeing it.

Main Points:

Why are filmmakers still obsessed with first-person shaky-cam for movies? I enjoyed this movie but I just don’t consider this technique fresh or different anymore. I’ll admit for this movie that one of the main characters Andrew (played well by Dane DeHaan) is obsessed with filming everything so it does make sense for the film, I just think the idea is overused. Also there are at least 2 scenes in the film where you can’t tell exactly what happened because of the “shaky-cam” style. I know this is supposed to build suspense but I was just annoyed but on to the plot.

It starts with Andrew as he tells us he is now video-taping his life. We quickly learn that he has a drunk/abusive father and is terribly picked on at school with only 1 friend (who drives him to school more out of pity/obligation than any other reason.)

So a geek/nerdy/trouble guy named Andrew is at a party one night with his cousin Matt (played by Alex Russell) and a popular guy (compared to the other two Smile) Steve (played by Michael B. Jordan). They discover this hole in the ground and decide to go down to investigate. There is this strange rock/crystal formation at the bottom that glows and seems to have pulsing veins inside it. They all touch it and then black out only to end up back on the surface later.

 

Things pick up here as all three friends discover they have a telekinesis type power and that they are all somehow linked together. At first they use there power for innocent/fun activities like throwing stuff at each/flying/smashing up stuff at the junk yard but soon Andrew’s anger begins to play a part. After a tailgater is forced off the road by Andrew, Matt says that they must have rules about using their powers, the main rule being not to use it against living things. It becomes clear early that Andrew is the strongest with the power both it terms of finesse and brute force.Open-mouthed smile

Andrew never agrees but find other ways to use his power, for now. His senior talent show is approaching, Matt and Steve suggest his use his power to wow his classmates. He does with simple tricks and is surprised and happy later than night when he is popular at a party. Things quickly go awry however when he pukes on a girl just when they are about to have sex and he finds out he really hasn’t been accepted at school.

Also by this point we see his father is physically abusive and his Mom is dying. Andrew uses his power to defend himself when his Dad finds his camera and accuses him of stealing/wasting money.

SPOILER ALERT!

Andrew wants some time alone and flies up into the sky to be alone. Unfortunately Steve senses he is very upset and goes to find him. They argue and in one of the more confusing parts of the movie Steve is hit by lightening (it was a lightening storm outside). They don’t make it clear whether Andrew did this or it was just bad luck. Either way Andrew is off the rails at this point.

I could see that things were going to get bad with Andrew, aside from being rejected at school he also deals with an abusive father and a dying mother that plus the temptation of his incredible power is just too much.

I really liked the idea of how a person would use their power for good, evil or just fun. Once Andrew uses his power to rip teeth out of a bully’s head, you know how it will go. I agreed with Andrew up to the point before he robs the gas station. The scene were he beats the crap out of (and likely killed at least one) of 4 local drug dealers was one of my favourites, I would have done something similar. Vampire bat

Andrew soon realizes that he doesn’t have enough money to pay for his Mom’s medication and he goes to drastic steps. After a gas station robbery goes awry he is hurt in an explosion and ultimately gets in a huge fight with Matt as they smash their way through Seattle. Ultimately Andrew hurts/kills so many people that Matt is forced to kill him to end the destruction. The movie ends with Matt having flown off to Tibet and leaving a final message for Andrew on the video camera.

I liked this movie but it had flaws as I discussed earlier. It was a great idea that would have been better with regular camerawork and possibly a little less time showing how geeky/messed up/unpopular Andrew is at the beginning. If your fan of comic book movies or fantasy I’d certainly recommend it. Thumbs up 8/10 from me, now I just need to find that magic/alien crystal Winking smile.

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