Chronicle – 2012
Starring – Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell and Michael B Jordan
Written by Max Landis and Josh Trank
Directed by Josh Trank
While The Maven himself is frolicking in the south of France (tough gig right?), I, the Movie Junkie that I am, will be hopping around Toronto checking out films and reporting back to you guys (as much as my “day job” will allow that is). Thanks to Matt, the Maven himself, for the support and platform to bring my opinion to this many-opinionated ring that is film criticism. Now on to the film…
I did not know a whole hell of a lot about Chronicle before stepping into the theater, which was very refreshing, given this age in which Hollywood often gives away everything in the trailer before the film actually comes out. Chronicle has also been backed by a brilliant advertising campaign that did more to peak curiosity and raise questions, rather than the “here’s a stunt, doesn’t it look pretty” mentality. In many ways it was reminiscent of the brilliant PR work done for last year’s great Troll Hunter.
As for the plot, Chronicle opens on Andrew Detmer (DeHann) as he sets up his “new” camcorder, which he plans to use for recording all the events in his fractured family, all while his father pounds on his bedroom door, demanding to come in. And you thought this would be a flight of fancy. We are soon treated to a day in the life of Andrew, as his relationships with the people surrounding him come into focus. Among them are Matt Garetty (Russell), who we discover is actually Andrew’s cousin and knows all too well what is going on, and Steve Montgomery (Jordan) who is the “popular jock” character. Matt and Steve discover something intriguing and drag Andrew along to document the proceedings and outcome. While I won’t get into their discovery, if you’ve seen any of the advertisements for the film, then you’ll know that these three start showing abnormal abilities and chaos inevitably entails.
Chronicle is a “found footage” film that may have been better suited playing it straight, especially because it becomes something of a burden to continually explain the presence of the cameras throughout the film. I feel strongly that Chronicle did not need this gimmick, but at least the camera work is not the typical extremely shaky style that films like Devil Inside have used so poorly in the past. Regular people don’t move the camera around that much, so why would characters making a film? Chronicle could have been served better as a traditional 3rd person narrative with 1st person inserts. We understand that Andrew is using the camera to hide behind, and if we didn’t, then one of the characters spells it out for us. We don’t need the camera to be omnipresent to get the point. That said, the performances from a cast of mainly newer faces is solid and the story takes a dark turn I was only too happy to see. This is the darker side of TV shows like Misfits and Heroes.
Ultimately, I was pleasantly surprised I enjoyed this film as much as I did, since it is being hailed by some as “the superhero movie as seen by the Facebook generation”. Don’t let this dissuade you. Chronicle is just a damn good film that deserves everyone’s attention.
Till next time
Kirk “Movie Junkie T.O.” Haviland