Great fun - Colm2305

10 Points

Viewer Rating:Colm2305 has rated Chronicle rating: 3 Star

It's refreshing to see a superhero film not adapted from a comic book but instead an original creation that although inspired by the likes of Superman and the X-Men it can be its own story and not have to include all elements of the comics allowing it to make allowances for the real world. My issue with Nolans Batman films is that he tries too hard to put Batman in a real world with real corruption when a man in a rubber suit could never really exist in such a real environment. With Chronicle the filmmakers have left out the ridiculous costumes and monstrous bad guys and instead made a film simply about teenagers already dealing with the ups and downs of their teenage years having to add newly acquired super powers to the mix. Think Gus VanSants Elephant meets Smallville. It's dark and tense when it needs to be but also a whole lot of fun.

Andrew (Dane DeHaan) is having a tough time with his teenage years. His family can't afford medicine for his dying mother because his Dad is spending it all on booze, there's a bully giving him a tough time at school and his only friend his cousin Matt (Alex Russell) doesn't want to be seen with him at parties. Things change rapidly when along with the school popular guy Steve (The Wires Wallace, Michael B. Jordan) Andrew and his cousin stumble across a strange hole in the ground that when they exit appears to have given them telekinetic power. Over the next few weeks the three become unexpected best friends as they stretch their newly acquired muscle to move objects and eventually fly. Matt and Steve acknowledge that their new powers must be used responsibly, but Andrews home life has instilled an anger in him that he can't always control. O and for reasons as implausible as they get they happen to be filming the whole thing on a home camera, constantly, which is where we see things from.

There's never a dull moment in Chronicle, it's always fun and the three leads are hugely enjoyable to watch. They bounce off each other with ease and the bond that forms between them achieved nicely never deteriorating to overly obvious dialogue, always being subtle. Dane DeHaan gets the juiciest material dealing with the dark side of having powers, but for me Michael B. Jordan was the stand out. A simpler character but delivered excellently, being so likeable it's easy to see why Andrew is so happy with his new life, and making it even more disturbing when Andrew eventually turns against it. All three should see their stock rise, and deservedly so.

Unfortunately for all the good that went into the story and characters the same can't be said for the found footage technique. Usually the found footage format (The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity) is useful for filmmakers with a lack of funds, allowing them to deliver a story on a scale beyond their budget. Costly special effect rendering can be scaled down to match the grainy quality of the video camera, points of view on set pieces can be restricted to give the illusion of a larger scale. With Chronicle the quality of the camera is curiously worthy of our cinema screens so the effects are up to scratch to match this high definition format. Surely if you can afford all out effects the filmmakers could just as easily have made this in regular format. Chronicle could have easily worked as an indie superhero film with plenty of handy cam over shoulder shots throwing us right into the action. With the exception of a musical score they don't appear to be saving any money filming this in the found footage format.

Things start getting silly when the guys run into a blogger from their high school, who just happens to be filming her entire life, and it conveniently intersects with their own camera, allowing for the view to switch from camera to camera. This plot thread goes nowhere and gives us some of the films weakest scenes, seeming to awkwardly exist only for the use of the girls camera as opposed to any addition to the story. The switching camera device does work well for the final set piece, with a fight taking place over Seattle with the view constantly switching from spectator to spectator, iPhone camera to camcorder, security cameras to TV reports. It keeps a nice pace and gives some great shots, but is not enough to give plausibility back to the found footage technique being used.

Some great young actors and great minds went into making this a great story. Unfortunately the choice to make this a found footage film keeps this in the average when it could have been great. Worth a watch though, and expect big things from the filmmakers and stars.

Review published on the 08 February 2012 12:09


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