I’ll admit when I saw the preview for “Chronicle” I was not that impressed. I thought it looked more like a POV version of the first X-Men movie. The villain kid looked like the sort of 2-D stock character that gets powers and lets it corrupt him because now he thinks he is superior. I am so glad I decided to go see it after all. This movie surprised the heck out of me. The characters are all amazingly well developed. The acting is great. The story is really well done. For supposedly being a POV movie, the camera work is some of the best I’ve ever seen and the effects are really fun to watch.
The “villain,” Andrew, is a High School Senior who is victimized by his alcoholic father. His Mother is dying of cancer and he is bullied and harassed by people in and out of school. He has few friends save his cousin, Matt. The movie makes you pity Andrew. You like him and don’t want bad things to happen to him. In a lot of ways it’s understandable why he snapped and the story does a great job showing us the path to that end.
Andrew and Matt befriend a guy named Steve at a big party. While hanging apart from the crowd, the three discover a mysterious hole in the ground with some thing that gives them all telekinetic powers. They soon discover that the more they use their powers, the stronger they get with them. Since Andrew has taken to filming everything in his life, we get to watch this unfold and see what will become of it, for good or ill.
All three of the boys are really well played. Their relationship together is like something out of a coming of age story at times. They seem to care for one another which makes Andrew’s fall from grace all the more tragic. The relationships work so well between the boys and so caustically between Andrew and his abusive father. You can feel the tension mount every time the man yells at his son because deep down you know that if the boy wanted to, he could crush the man like an insect.
This leads me too the acting. I am not sure where they found Dane DeHaan, but that was an amazing choice in casting him as Andrew. The guy is vulnerable and angry with all the angst that high school can chuck at a guy, and manages to look like he is ready to crack. The part of Matt, played by Alex Russell was also well done. He plays the voice of reason in just about every given situation. He does it believably well at least. Finally we have the alcoholic father, played by Michael Kelly who was a security guard in the remake of “Dawn of the Dead”. He was an exquisite asshole and was great at making the audience hate him.
The story reminded me a tad of “Carrie” at times, mostly because both are about a misfit teen that gains awesome powers, then snaps. However, both have different story arcs and you can’t compare the two beyond what I mentioned before. The plot is actually very clever at letting you see how each boy deals with things in given situations. Seeing as how this is a POV movie, they find unique ways to get other views to chronicle this tale such as having a girlfriend as a video blogger or getting security camera footage.
After seeing possibly the worst POV movie this year (“The Devil Inside”) it is really nice to see a movie take care to actually show you what the hell is going on. In Andrew’s case, he has telekinesis so he can levitate the camera around himself and films himself in amazing angles and doesn’t need to worry about holding a camera, nor holding it steady. It’s a brilliant idea. They utilize anything that can be considered a camera for this movie and use it when they can. At one point he steals a crowd of people’s cameras and cell phones and just have them surround him. The effects are very cool. There final fight scene like something out of a comic geeks dream. It’s very fun to watch and it is very impressive.
This is one of those movies that is a really good surprise. I am sure it’ll impress most people who watch it like the first “Paranormal Activity” did and spread through word of mouth. I think we can expect a lot of great work in the future from Dane DeHaan as well. If you are in the mood for really great movie this is one that is completely worth seeing in theaters. I am just glad I decided to listen to the recommendation of a friend of mine and give it a chance.