Somewhat of an enigma, this sometimes innovative, sometimes repetitive production comes with an underlining buzz after a very cool trailer debuted a few months back. That's seemingly what happens nowadays when a film isn't a sequel, remake or adaptation of some sort. Ironically, Chronicle plays like a prequel to something like X-Men and is a "superhero" film that could actually exist in the same world as the underrated Unbreakable.
The core character of the film, at least initially, is insular teenager Andrew (an intense DeHaan) who has a very difficult home life, with a dying mother and physically abusive father. While attending a party with his popular cousin (Russell), they and another pal Steve (a charismatic Jordan), discover a hole in the ground that appears to have something extraterrestrial within it. After investigating they find they have the ability to levitate objects and the more they use it, the stronger they get. Oh yeah, it's predominately shot by Andrew on a HD camcorder - ala Cloverfield.
There are always going to be those that can't buy into a film executed like Chronicle. Too many questions are raised with the main one being, "why would you keep filming?" While District 9 managed to seamlessly transition from character cam to more conventional methods, Chronicle struggles to justify itself and a couple of times actually appears to use a normal camera angle. While this is addressed continually ("why do you still have the camera" etc) the script isn't sharp enough not to notice.
When the plot ups a gear and Andrew goes a little loco, Chronicle really feels like it's building up to a bigger film. The final third surprisingly ups the scale after a fairly intimate opening, and it's then that it becomes a slicker film. The concept is a homemade superhero movie, and there's no denying that that's an interesting hook. While the script is proficient in pushing characters to where they need to go to in order to give the film scale, said characters rarely feel real and some of the exchanges are a little heavy-handed; "It's like you use the camera as a barrier between you and people."
If you're not put off by this type of filmmaking then Chronicle has enough moments to warrant your nine quid.
Story by Mike Sheridan | 16:58 | Tuesday 29th May 2012 | DVD review
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