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Film Review: Chronicle

9th February 2012

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Using the traditional lonely person theme, Chronicle provides a modern take on a concept that has been used to death. Andrew (Dane DeHaan) is an unhappy boy abused by his father, and struck with unacknowledged guilt of his dying mother. At school he is the bully target, and relies only on his relationship with Cousin Matt (Alex Russell) as company. Andrew’s struggle with life is seen through the eyes of his lens camera, which he uses to videotape his day-to-day life.

ChronicleOne night while attending a local rave, Andrew is approached by Steve (Michael B. Jordan), the school’s popular star quarterback. After telling him that he and Matt have found something strange, the three enter a large hole in the middle of the ground where they discover a large, glowing, crystalline object which causes the teenagers noses to profusely bleed, while also experiencing great pain. From this point on, Chronicle unveils the superhuman abilities the friends have developed from their experience, which after building a greater strength and understanding of the powers leads to devastating consequences, which spiral out of control.

Even though many cinema goers are over the glitches the found-footage presentation provides, the use of this technique here does not work well. Trank’s decision to use a video camera to document the action doesn’t provide a strong explanation to the viewer. There is no clarification as why the teenage boy would document his entire life with a camera. Furthermore Chronicle does not let the camera blend, instead using constant references to find an excuse as to why Andrew has the camera in every scene.

At only 83 minutes, this modern take on the superhero genre provides little in the way of viewing entertainment during the first hour, only after starting to pick up. Some parts of the film seem unrealistic, unpicking the seriousness this film struggles to hold in places. However, Chronicle is a rare film that isn’t predictable and provides a fresh, exciting and memorable action-packed climax that genuinely takes your breath away. 

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