A loner, a class president and a cool kid struggling with his decision to desert past friends create a trio of ordinary kids that gain extraordinary powers in yet another handy cam feature Chronicle. Andrew (Dane Dehaan), Steve (Michael B. Jordan) and Matt (Alex Russell) don’t start as buds, but after an encounter with a kryptonite inspired rock brings them together, they start to realise they can move things with their mind. Andrew who begins the film as a loner with a video camera circa 1980 does most of the filming throughout. He quickly finds solace in the unexpected friendship of his cousin Matt and Mr Popular, Steve.
Friendships grow as their powers become slowly stronger and more advanced. However this comes to a halt when an incident sends Andrew down the psycho road and he soon finds himself torturing spiders and crushing used cars – handy when you think about it. Cue a massive fight between friends and insert one giant ending that doesn’t really answer any questions and you’ve got the last third of the film.
This is the first feature film from writer/director Josh Trank after just one television series (The Kill Point). Chronicle does just what it says in the title, it chronicles the events of a group of people across a timeline until its end point. Although it does leave all the questions it raised unanswered, and furthermore the relationships between the three ‘bros’ are way too ambiguous. Deep bonds of friendship become confused with undertones of homosexuality instead, through inserting the word “love” 15 times and saying “best day ever” more than in an episode of The Brady Bunch. Throughout the whole film, I found myself pondering “when are the too cousins going to kiss?” or will they try for a threesome?
While the scripting was quite poor, the acting was actually good. Alex Russell easily stood out as the torn cousin throughout the film. Starting off as a jock he ends the films as an emotionally sensitive guy and, unlike Dane DeHaan, doesn’t look like some sort of disabled Egyptian mummy screaming like a howler monkey.
Cinematically, the ‘self-filmed’ cinematography was cute at the start, but became annoying towards the end and I’m sure there were points where no cameras were in sight and yet someone was filming. Narratively, the logistics of this film are quite simple: three separate guys stumble upon a glowing rock, they gain powers, their friendship develops, a rift is caused and a conclusion is met. As the plot is simple there really never was a chance for the script, but the film is somewhat redeemed by the acting.
Chronicle will be theatrically released on February 2 through 20th Century Fox