Chronicle (2012)

ChronicleReleased: February 3, 2012Director: Josh TrankStars: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. JordanRuntime: 84 min.

Whilst attending a party, three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery underground. Soon, though, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides.

Chronicle is a very innovative feature because it combines two of the most popular sub-genres of the 21st century: found-footage and super heroes. This may sound odd to some, but the end product is rather astounding.

When I say super heroes, though, they don’t put on capes or masks and fight evil. They are often the ones who wreak havoc. Most characters, not to an extreme extent. They just fool around when they first start to learn how to control their abilities. I’d tell you some of the stunts they pull, but then I’d be depriving of you of the funniest sequence of the entire feature. When they are starting to fool around, Andrew (Dane DeHaan), the primary character, uses mind power to make a car go off a road and into a river, putting the man in a hospital. The two friends, Steve (Michael B. Jordan) and Andrew’s cousin Matt (Alex Russell), are quite furious and set rules for them to follow. They must not use it against people. Andrew does not understand what they’re fussing about because of this situation, which is the first hint at his sociopathic behaviour.

Andrew is the anti-hero of the feature, and the most developed. The other two are slightly developed, as their pacifistic behaviour is established. Before I get into explaining Andrew, if there were a villain and a hero in this super power feature, it is usually Andrew vs. His father (I’ll explain that situation soon) and to a lesser extent, Andrew vs. Matt. This is because their polar opposite behaviours often clash. Andrew is much more psychopathic than Matt, who is a pacifist by nature.

Andrew is the most developed because the primary focus is on him. While this film is a riveting drama/thriller, it is also a fascinating and disturbing character study. Andrew’s mother is sick, and his father is an alcoholic who beats him every chance he gets. He also doesn’t pass up the chance to make him feel unappreciated wherever he goes. This makes Andrew feel completely neglected, and often diminishes his care for human life, making him very self conscious in a threatening way. The way Andrew thinks will unsettle most, fascinate many, and frustrate some. And I experienced all three of those.

He obviously has friends, but his father’s way of getting into his mind and twisting the way he thinks is often frustrating. But still, necessary for the plot. One thing about this feature is it goes at the speed of Ussain Bolt; it is very rushed. It is still nonetheless gripping and engaging. It would have been nice to see more pranks pulled by the boys before it turned dark, but an extended silliness may have affected the serious undertone. The chemistry created by the trio is more than fine, it seems like they’ve spent everyday together at summer camp since they were tykes. Boys will be boys, right?

In a nutshell: Chronicle is one of the most surprisingly amazing features of 2012. The rushed pace is its main flaw, but it is an awesome experience for the 84 minutes it stays around. It obtains must-see status because of its thoroughly thematic and disturbing content. It is the most must-see found-footage feature of 2012, perhaps of all-time.


11 thoughts on “Chronicle (2012)

  1. Very insightful review. I enjoyed this more than I thought but didn’t love it – I also didn’t look at the psychological underlyings so much either – I viewed it as purely fluff so this was definitely an interesting read. 🙂

  2. Like you I was surprised and floored–in a good way–by “Chronicle”.

    “The way Andrew thinks will unsettle most, fascinate many, and frustrate some.” Great observation and great line.

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