Director: Josh Trank
Screenplay: Max Landis
Producers: John Davis, Adam Shroeder
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, Alex Russell
BBFC Certification: 12
Duration: 84 min
Plot: Lonely teen Andrew decides to document his life on film, but when he and his friends find a mysterious object underground that give them telekinetic powers, things take a turn for the worst.
After the recent string of ‘found footage’ films (Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield etc) Chronicle is a breath of fresh air. We view it from the perspective of Andrew, a disturbed teenager who uses his camera as a means of an escape from his abusive father who beats him regurlarly. But throughout the course of the film we switch between a few different perspectives. In the finale, the director cleverly uses various onlookers who are videoing from their mobile phones as the audiences viewpoint. A television crew and a police helicopter are also used as viewpoints.
When Andrew (DeHaan), Matt (Russell) and Steve (Jordan) find a strange crystal like structure underground whilst attending a party, the film suddenly becomes very dark. Symbolism is used with the weather. Each day seems to get more miserable, grey skies, rain and eventually a storm depicts the darkening mood of the film. I feel that whilst not showing the audience what really happens underground is a clever technique to keep us guessing, I think that it is also a negative point for the film. I would’ve liked an expansion on what happened, and what the structure is and where it comes from. And whilst there is some speculation from the characters we never really find out.
Dane DeHaan, who plays both the antagonist and protagonist, Andrew Detmer, is excellent at changing his characters emotions. For example, in the scene where he stands up to his father, the way in which he switches between cowardice and rage is astounding. From that point on, we see how the character has bottled up all these feelings for years, and because of his new powers, he is able to unleash this. Whilst this is a hybrid of genres, one of the most important themes of the film is coming of age. We see the lead characters grow up, and learn to take responsibility for their actions.
I was also quite surprised at how gritty this film was considering that it is a 12A here in Britain. There are a few moments that are quite dark. And whilst there are some elements of comedy, towards the end we see things spiral out of control. I admire the way that the director has made this a superhero movie, without it being a stereotypical film about a hero fighting a terrifying evil. Instead, it is about a group of friends who are fighting themselves and their own emotions.
Written by Eammon Jacobs