Film: Chronicle
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan, Alex Russell
Directed by: Josh Trank

Found footage films are very polarizing things. People either love them or hate them. Filmmaking this way can either be used as a well thought out gimmick (Cloverfield, The Blair Witch Project) or they can be a way to make a cheap movie without much effort (The Devil Inside). No matter which side of the debate you are on found footage films are going to keep getting made and Chronicle has a fresh new way to use the method to tell a very interesting story.

Chronicle starts out pretty ordinary. An outcast kid (Andrew) with a drunk father and a dying mother decides to start recording his life. You can tell right from the start that things are going to turn out bad for him, but you can’t imagine how dark his life is going to get. His only “friend” at school is his cousin Matt, who obviously only associates with Andrew due to familial obligation. The two go to a party and eventually the popular jock (Steve) takes Andrew and Matt to investigate a hole in the ground. They go in and discover something strange, which destroys the camera. The film jumps to a few weeks later and reveals that whatever happened to them in the hole gave them telekinesis. This is all of the explanation we get, which is a nice change of pace from most superhero origin stories that drag on and on with ridiculous back story. The three kids spend the rest of the movie goofing off and exploring their new found powers, constantly getting stronger, until Andrew’s home life pushes him over the edge and he starts to use his power motivated by teenage angst instead of mischievous playfulness.

The first thing that takes some getting used to in Chronicle is the way it is shot. It is from Andrew’s perspective the whole movie. Unlike most found footage films, however, the footage is not disorienting and shaky. Very shortly after the three gain their powers Andrew masters the ability to manipulate the camera with his mind, which leads to smooth shots and great angles. Usually a character is lost behind the camera in these types of movies, but Andrew has a lot of screen time throughout. The character development was interesting at it’s worst and captivating at it’s best. As the character’s powers grow so do their personalities. The acting was surprisingly good coming from relatively unknown talent. In fact, the whole movie was written and directed by very green filmmakers, but delivered like a film made by people who have been in the industry for decades.

Chronicle is a unique take on the superhero genre. The story is told from the villain’s perspective in a cool new version of found footage style movie making. The characters are memorable, the moods are great, and the plot is fast paced and engaging. If you are looking for a fun flick to make your weekend better go check it out at your local cinema, you will not regret it.

Written by: Justin Proper (Follow him on Twitter)

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