I wanted so much for Chronicle to blow me away, knock my socks off and impress me but instead I left the theatre feeling disappointed. If only ever so slightly. It was a decent film; unique and surprising with a fresh spin on the discovered footage style. And compared to what else is being pumped out or has been in the last few months this is one of the better films. There was just something lacking. The concept and shooting style were the perfect partnering as Andrew (Dane DeHaan), a withdrawn teenage introvert and social outcast buys a video camera to document his dad’s abusive behaviour and incidentally captures something incredible. With his cousin Matt (Alex Russell) and school friend Steve (Michael B Jordan) the boys make an unbelievable discovery that leaves them with the power of telekinesis, and together they use their new abilities, not to save lives or for the greater good, but to have fun. They do what any average person would do. And at first that’s exciting. Watching as they discover their strengths and encourage each other to do stupid stuff, but aside from the incredible flying footage, which felt like I was inside a flight simulator, it got a little stagnant. Not a great deal happens to push the narrative forward. What kept me hooked were the characters and incredible special effects. It’s a cast of fresh faces -as found footage films usually are, giving it that authenticity and believability- with great performances from Dane DeHaan (Andrew) Alex Russell (Matt), and Michael B Jordan (Steve) whose chemistry appeared effortless. And Michael Kelly made for a convincing asshole drunk dad who I just wanted to punch. Objective reached I think!
The last fifteen minutes made up for any lack of excitement throughout the film but seemed a little out of nowhere. It seemed like what Matt Landis and Josh Trank had spent the first hour of the film trying to achieve –going against ‘the superhero norm’ grain- suddenly came into full effect in the climactic battle between villain and hero. But it was a spectacular end and thrilling final act with the potential for a follow-up. But let’s hope not as sequels often ruin the uniqueness of the first.
It’s a great directorial feature film début from Josh Trank, penned by Matt Landis, son of An American Werewolf in London Director John Landis. It’s an exciting partnership that I hope will reunite in future projects. But I look forward to seeing future works from both not just together but individually. Chronicle has put them on them on the map so watch this space.