Where This Meets That
During my return flight from California last week, I was delighted to be able to watch this movie on the back of the headrest of the guy fully reclined in front of me. Unfortunately, the plane’s entertainment system rebooted several times during viewing, so I correspondingly had to fast forward again and again to pick up where I’d left off.
Not enjoyable. But the movie held my interest enough to determine to see it again, uninterrupted. That opportunity arose Saturday night when we found it still playing at the local value theater. Regrettably, our $1.99 value viewing came with an obnoxiously squeaky projector that sounded like a team of rodents jumping on an old mattress for the film’s duration.
So, enough with my griping about all things non-Chronicle, you say? How was the movie itself?
Very original and very good.
The “found footage” genre made popular by The Blair Witch Project and the Paranormal Activity movies has been just about played out. Debut director Josh Trank, however, gives it new life by weaving together footage from different perspectives (camcorders, security cameras, nightly news, etc.).
The basic story tells of three high school students in the pacific northwest who develop telekinetic powers after coming in contact with an unexplained extraterrestrial material that has fallen to earth. In many ways, Chronicle has the makings of a superhero origin story, but don’t let that put you off. While the first hour involves a lot of comedic teenage male “horseplay” as the three toy with their newfound abilities, it grows into a darker case study on the effects of power and the need for love and self-worth.
Newcomer Dane DeHaan puts on an impressive lead performance as an awkward teen with an out-of-control home life, and Michael B. Jordan is equally effective as DeHaan’s social opposite, athletic, charismatic, and charmed. Alex Russell plays a middling, more grounded role.
Their discovery brings three unique personalities into an existence to which only they can relate. In many ways, the film magnifies the naive teenage memes of perceived indestructibility and isolation. The performances and script draw an emotional attachment to the characters, and the passable, indie-style special effects play the story out in a way that seems realistic.
Chronicle score: 3.5 Falcone Rings