Teen Angst + You Tube + Superpowers = Chronicle
Man I hope that no one makes a ‘found footage’ movie from any of my cameras and phones. It would just be a Potter length saga of my kid’s birthdays & ‘fun days out’. Even I fast forward through most of it – and they’re MY kids. Luckily for us, the people who decide to start documenting their lives on camera are the same people that bat shit crazy things happen to. What are the odds.
The ‘found footage’ style may be getting a little long in the tooth – but now and then it does strike gold – The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity (well, the first one) and now add Chronicle to the list. It’s a Marvel-esque origin story for superheros and villains that don’t exist.
Most superhero movies show us that if high school kids were to acquire super powers then they’d soon cobble together come lycra/spandex number then go around fighting crime.
Chronicle shows what would probably really happen. Think Johnny Knoxville and his Jack Ass crew with super powers and you’re getting close.
Sure that’s part of the movie but what really pulls you in is the emotionally powerful evolving relationships between the three (super?) friends & their clichéd but honest & true to life stories. I’m talking mainly about Andrew (Dane DeHaan) channeling not only a young DiCaprio’s looks but also the fragile, broken & angry spirit he used to have as kid. Steve (Michael B. Jordan) is fun to watch too. For fans of The Wire you’ll barely recognize him as the all grown up ‘Wallace’ from Stringer Bell’s crew.
I like found footage movies. But there are good and bad points to it.
You’ve got to forgive a lot. For instance, Chronicle begins with: “What’s with camera?” ; “I’m filming everything now”; “oh, okay!” . Done. That’s all the explanation you get. Then you can’t help but thinking in some parts: ‘why would he be filming this?’ ; ‘how lucky that there’s ANOTHER person filming everything so we can get a reverse angle!’ and the biggest: ‘isn’t great that part of his super power is the power to levitate the camera & automatically know awesome camera angles?!’ .
And this far outweigh’s the bad. Everything seems more powerful and hard hitting. Because the consumer video camera style & look is one we’re all familiar with it seems grounded in reality. So when the tears, the bullying, the abuse, the laugh’s, the powers, the flying and the darkness all come – it all feels shockingly real.
And that is the beauty of the film. It shows you what we’d do if it happened to us. We’d goof around while flying. We wouldn’t know exactly what to do with our powers. And we’d find out there’s a fine line between good and evil.
Yup, you’ve seen this superhero story before. But not like this you haven’t.