Reviewed by Mike Ferraro
It’s hard to really recommend a superhero film like this that isn’t a complete bore (like Thor), despite the fact that in certain areas, it does indeed soar. All rhyming aside, Chronicle is a good film surrounded by a plethora of flaws. The film focuses on three friends who make a remarkable discovery that turns them into super-beings. What separates this film from every other film of its ilk, other than the fact that it isn’t based on a Marvel or DC property, is that it falls in to the found footage genre, a technique utilized most by horror genre.
Andrew (Dane DeHaan) is an awkward teenager plagued with an abusive father and a dying mother. One day he decides to buy a video camera to capture his father’s shenanigans of cruelty. But he realizes how much interesting it would be to capture everything in his life. So he takes it to school, only to attract the attention of some bullies. Feel free to take a guess at any other cliché this type of character would fall into, and you’d be right.
One night at a party, Steve (Michael B. Jordan) tracks Andrew down due to the fact that there is something he feels needs to be captured. Reluctantly, Andrew follows and meets up with his cousin Matt (Alex Russell). Without spoiling too much more, they stumble upon something that gives them telepathic powers, similar to the Jedi Mind Trick. They use it for a while for the simple purpose of entertaining themselves (moving parked cars to other spaces, scaring children in toy stores, etc.), until Andrew’s dark side starts to reveal its ugly head.
Chronicle, written by Max Landis (son of filmmaker John Landis) and directed by feature-length first-timer Josh Trank, is a decent attempt at an origin story that falls victim to painful clichés and annoying characters. It’s hard to keep track of the amount of found footage films that have been produced this past decade but it’s enough to have its own section at a Blockbuster (if those still existed). It might even be harder to name a few of the great ones (Blair Witch Project and [Rec]).
Despite its traditional flaws, Chronicle is still an entertaining ride that lasts just as long as it should (running at a mere 84 minutes). But it’s not like this is a film that will stick with you very long after it is over.
The extras on the standard DVD release are traditional and include a brief deleted scene, the theatrical trailer, and information on the soundtrack of the film.