DVD Review: Chronicle
Ever wonder what Peter Parker would've been like had he not become a crime fighting superhero with his new found powers? On a small scale, Chronicle shows us.
The film centers around a trio of teens: bullied and abused Andrew (Dane DeHaan), his cooler cousin, Matt (Alex Russell) and the big man on campus, Steve (Michael B. Jordan). The guys happen upon an assumed alien presence (a glowing crystal) one night, contact with which gives the boys extreme telekinetic powers. However, these three do not go out and fight crime. Instead they goof off practicing their new abilities in the back yard until they become very powerful. So powerful that Andrew decides he's not going to be stepped on anymore.
Chronicle is a short film (83 minutes) with a long slow burn. First we're introduced to Andrew and his troubles at home and school as he documents everything with his new video camera. We're set up to feel sorry for the guy, so when he becomes an all out villain in the final act, we should understand his motives better as his cousin Matt steps up as the actual hero. It possibly could have worked if the film wasn't so set on the atrocious "found footage" angle. Had it been a simple narrative story, I could see myself getting behind these characters, but once the climatic battle is in full swing and we're still watching this story cheaply play out through news feed and random video phones, quickly losing my interest.
The style actually works logically for the first part of the film, as the boys are having a good, relatively harmless time exploring their new powers. I must say these three young actors had fantastic chemistry together which is why it's a delight to watch them horsing around. But once Andrew's mind starts going down the darker path, I have to wonder why anyone would still have the camera rolling. Even worse is the film's commitment to this style through Matt's girlfriend, Casey (Ashley Hinshaw), who insists on documenting every detail of her life simply to "post on a blog."
Through Chronicle's relentless use of found footage, the camera becomes more of character than the actual people with lines, and by the end it all feels so forced that any good momentum from the first two-thirds is wasted in a lacking climax that left me wanting good ol' Peter Parker fighting crime once again.