Riding on the wave of new “found footage” films, Chronicle is about three high school seniors, who stumble upon a strange tunnel that leads them to alien object(or something) that gives them telekinetic powers. At first they just play around, make pranks, but slowly things begin to heat up as our lead Andrew starts to fall apart mentally. The first part of the film is the strongest. The three young men are well portrayed and it’s fun seeing them learning how to use the powers together. The best parts being when they learn to fly. Sadly though after about the first twenty minutes of this film everything starts to fall apart.
The found footage format they use here is unique, but after a while it becomes rather annoying. Instead of just following one camera, we cut between several camera’s and later security feeds and cell phones. This to me makes the found footage technique pointless as I would rather have had just a straight film.
Another problem for the film is its length, it’s under 90 minutes and it really needs more. We get a lot from Andrew and his character and his arch is great. The other two though are paper thin. Especially Matt(Alex Russell) who is suppose to be the moral center of the group, it feels like his character is half complete, most of the stuff with him happens off camera I guess and it hurts the film badly especially as everything falls apart in the third act.
Now the pranks and the telekinetic antics are fun, but with a low budget we don’t really get a lot. In the third act a lot of stuff goes down, but because of shakey cam we don’t really get to see a lot of it. Still there are a lot of fun moments and the action is impressive late in this movie. Andrew essentially becomes a super villain and tosses cars around like crumbled up paper.
The stand out here is Dane DeHaan who plays Andrew. Essentially this film is simply showing what would happen if a school shooter instead of getting a gun, got super powers. His characters fall from being a pathetic loaner to a unstoppable force is riveting. Too bad the messyness of the camera use and the script which is all over the place kind of places a shadow over the performance.
It’s sad because I had high hopes for this film. It just seems incomplete, mainly made up of cool ways to show high school kids having powers. There is a lot to love here but the film just drops the ball in building up the three young men. We get a lot from Andrew but in a way we understand him very early on, the other two are just never built up in anyway, yet we’re suppose to care about them. To me this film seemed like a very expensive student film. A great idea and a good attempt, but just not a great movie.