By Leland Bernstein
During a time when movie watchers complain about how every movie they see has the same plot or is a digitally re-mastered version, Chronicle stands far above the crowd.
The movie begins with Andrew (Dane DeHaan) starting to record his life – a drunken, abusive father, bedridden mother, testosterone-filled bullies, and his popular cousin Matt (Alex Russel). To break Andrew out of his anti-social shell, Matt takes Andrew to a Rave where he still gets pushed around. After leaving the dance, Andrew meets Steve (Michael B. Jordan) who convinces Andrew to bring his camera to a strange sinkhole in the woods. Hearing strange noises, the teenagers investigate what is actually a tunnel and stumble upon a disturbing looking crystal. The camera begins to fill with static as the sound from the crystal grows louder and the boys begin to bleed and pass out.
Three weeks later, the boys are seen alive and healthy, practicing their telekinesis powers in the backyard. They start small, curving baseballs and building Legos, but begin to realize their powers are getting stronger. Doing what most teenagers would do with super powers, they prank unsuspecting people at the local toy store – levitating stuffed animals and moving a lady’s car to a different parking spot or lifting girls’ skirts. Once their power begins to grow, they must decide how to control themselves before they accidentally kill someone.
Chronicle is more than the typical adage “With great power comes great responsibility” because the characters feel completely real and fleshed out. There isn’t a character who’s evil just for evil’s sake; there are understandable and (arguably) justifiable reasons for what the characters do. Another great aspect of the movie is the cinematography. It uses the “found footage” concept similar to Cloverfield and The Blair Witch Project but ditches the annoying camera shake once the characters begin to hold the camera with telepathy. Chronicle also makes use of every camera nearby the action, captuing a scene with security footage, smart phone cameras, and a blogger’s webcam.
While much darker than most other films released this year, Chronicle stands far above the rest for having great, three-dimensional characters and a smart, inventive plot that so many movies seem to lack.