This is one of those films that came out of nowhere into the cinemas, literally a week before I saw it I knew virtually nothing about it. And I am happy I didn’t know much about Chronicle as the less you know, the more you’ll enjoy it and I loved this film. Now there are spoilers in this review so if you don’t want the film spoiled, go and see Chronicle first and then read the rest of this review.
The story of the film feels like the most realistic superpowers film ever made. A bunch of teenagers get telekinetic powers and immediately start dicking about with them. Now be honest, if you got superpowers would you start off by fighting crime or dicking about, I know I would dick about and I guess a lot of you would do the same. Plus it also shows a realistic reaction of what would happen if an abused, bullied teen got superpowers. He would want to get revenge on those who made his life a misery. The clever thing is that we slowly see this character, Andrew, realise that he can use these powers to get revenge, at first he dicks about like the others and uses his powers to get popular, like a real teenager would. But when Andrew starts to get revenge, his facial expressions let you know that something serious is about to go down with his character at the end reminding me a lot of Stephen King’s Carrie in terms of how filled with anger and vengeance he gets.
Now a top reason why the story works is through the acting by the three leads, Dane DeHaan, Michael B Jordan and Alex Russell. They have a great on screen chemistry together and we really grow to like these characters as the film progresses and the incredible performance from Dane DeHaan makes you feel so sorry for Andrew. It also helps that the script by Max Landis is incredible, really funny, makes you feel so sorry for Andrew and really makes you like the other characters, in particular Steve who is just a joy to watch whenever he is on screen and when he dies (I did warn about spoilers), I felt really sad to see such a likeable character die.
Now I have saved the main aspect of the film for last as it is the aspect that made me love this film all the more, the style of the film and the direction by Josh Trank. What Trank does is that he uses a found footage setup but doesn’t follow the same found footage style, unlike films like Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield, the perspective constantly changes to different cameras, be it CCTV footage, helicopter cameras and other cameras people have on them and also takes advantage of the telekinetic powers aspect with Andrew testing his powers out on his camera to move it around, allowing the main camera to capture things it normally wouldn’t if it was in someone’s hand all the time. Now this aspect is best shown in the final fight in the film, which is basically as close to a live action Akira as you can possibly get, with the cameras constantly switching to show the viewpoint of the fight from different people, be in bystanders recording the fight with their phones or the police through cameras mounted onto the police cars. It also helps that this fight is really well done with the increasing madness of Andrew and the pain Matt goes through having to fight and eventually kill Andrew (I did warn you about spoilers) is incredibly convincing to watch with the utilization of the powers showing what I meant by this being essentially a live action Akira.
In conclusion, Chronicle is incredible, the characters are really fun and likeable, the action is brilliantly done and the way in which the found footage format is used is really unique. I predict that we’ll be seeing a lot more from Trank and Landis in the near future and if their future films are anywhere near as good as Chronicle is, then we have a lot of great films to look forward to.
My Rating: 5/5