Chronicle

Chronicle

Chronicle is about how three high school friends living in Seattle choose to handle their newfound telekinetic powers after coming in contact with an alien substance they find in a crater in the middle of the woods. It is a fictionalized found footage film that relies only on shots obtained from security cameras and the cameras that the characters operate themselves. Even though it is a sci-fi film, it is very much grounded in reality, presupposing that having the ability to move things with one‘s mind is actually possible.
Because of the sheer amount of superhero and found footage films that have come out in recent years, there has been a lot of unfounded backlash towards Chronicle from people who haven‘t seen it yet, because they assume that the movie is simply slapping the two premises together as if they were cheap gimmicks instead of interesting plot devices, that when used correctly, can really elevate a relatively simple story. By going the found footage route, the cinematography is nowhere near Speilberg levels, but that doesn’t matter because it allows for some amazing special effects to be pulled off on an insanely cheap 15 million dollar budget. As with any Hollywood movie set in a high school, it can be hard to look past the fact that the baby-faced actors have a median age of 24 and they all talk in short witty sentences, but that’s what the CW Network has programmed us to believe it’s like nowadays. I graduated almost a decade ago, so maybe I’m just out of the loop and all teenagers actually are annoyingly moody and constantly updating the world about their boring lives on some blog.
Even though it can be difficult to relate to these basic high school stereotypes at first, the movie takes its time with letting us get to know the three main characters and understand the bond between them as we watch them go through this incredible transformation. Eventually you do see that each one does have their own personality and flaws that make you care about them. But what really makes us connect on a more visceral level is the fact that at some point, all of us have imagined what it would be like to get a standing ovation at the school talent show, levitate off the ground and fly through the clouds, or more importantly, make a girl‘s skirt fly up without her ever knowing it was you that made it happen. Surprisingly, all of these quick scenes of self discovery are quite touching, and at times, pretty funny.
The tone of the film can change quickly because there is supposed to be no editing and each scene is just another piece of footage shoved right up against the next one, so it can be jarring when the movie goes from hilarious to fairly scary, but that is part of the magic of using this story telling device. There is no music to let the audience know how they should feel and it is almost impossible not to become obsessed with thinking about the imaginary person who put the film together and how they got the footage. I highly recommend that you relax and trust that the real life filmmakers have worked hard to make sure they are going to give you an entertaining ride and any plot holes have been taken care of.
Chronicle may not be a non-stop thrill ride from beginning to end like Cloverfield was, but the pacing gives us the time to get to know and genuinely like these guys before taking a very dark turn towards an incredibly satisfying and action packed ending. And trust me, even though it is only 83 minutes long, it will only take the final 20 minutes to convince you it was worth your money.

By
Joseph Vosevich

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