Chronicle led the Box Office this past weekend, pulling in $22 million. Not bad considering this film’s meager $12 million budget! Directed by the virtually unknown 27-year old Josh Trank, it is an uncommonly well put together ‘found footage’ film.
Trank, who also wrote, produced and directed the surprisingly good 2007 TV mini-series Kill Point, co-wrote the story for Chronicle with Max Landis (who wrote the screenplay and happens to be the son of Director John Landis). The film is shot primarily in first person. One of the three main characters, Andrew (Dane DeHaan) uses his newfound super-hero like power of telekinesis to also hover the camera around himself to document his (and his two friends) new powers. This eleviates the ever so annoying shaky cam that plagues most first person or ‘found footage’ movies of late. It also allows you to get to know his character once he masters this ability, but I am getting ahead of myself…
Chronicle opens with Andrew (DeHaan)- a high school misfit with an alcoholic abusive father who films everything with his camcorder- and his popular cousin Matt (Alex Russell). The two attend school and eventually going to a Rave out in the woods. This is where we meet Matt’s best friend Steve (played charismatically by Michael B. Jordan), who found a hole with a mysterious object in the ground. The three boys go in to investigate the object, and this is where things start to get really fun.
The three boys quickly discover that they can now move and control things with their minds by simply thinking about it (with varying degrees of success). This film does a great job showing what teenage boys would likely do if suddenly given super powers, from playing pranks and trying to fly, to getting emotional and hurting people.
The three characters are great, each boy handling their newfound powers differently. Soon they are flying through the sky, beating up bullies, and lifting cars…all with just their minds. And that’s all before one of them starts to loose self control, which has violent, destructive consequences.
I have wanted to see this movie since I first saw this trailer many months back. I have to say, as cool as the trailer was, I wasn’t expecting too much from the actual film. Was I ever surprised! Chronicle is such a fun, fresh movie with entertaining characters and some great action and effect sequences. With that said, the effects aren’t perfect, but they never hinder the story or take you out of the film. And sometimes (the end sequence especially!) they are fantastic.
If you can get on board with the ‘found footage’ concept, Chronicle will entertain and surprise you. If you like super-hero movies, it’s a must see (you are in for a real treat!). This is an exciting movie that is totally worth the price of admission, and deserves watching on your favorite local big screen.