Chronicle is one of those films I heard about through “buzz” on the internet way before it had a release date and thought that the concept looked like a winner even before the trailers were released. Chronicle is a film which jumps on the handheld camera bandwagon, in the same vein as Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield the story is told using the video diaries of the main protagonist Andrew. Whilst this method of storytelling is awkward at first it soon becomes unnoticeable due to an interesting use of Andrews powers. Andrew is one of the unpopular kids in school, he’s a loner and eats his lunch perving on the cheerleaders whilst they practice their routines on the sports field. Andrew is bullied by other kids and in an attempt to broaden his social horizons Andrew’s cousin Matt invites him to a party, telling him not to bring his camera. Andrew doesn’t heed this advice and brings it anyway providing an overprotective boyfriend an opportunity to beat him up when he’s caught filming a girl dancing on a podium. Whilst sulking outside the party the popular Steven, who is a candidate for school president, comes to find Andrew in the hope that he will film something interesting they have found. This proves to be some sort of kryptonite substance at the bottom of a deep dark hole and turns out to be the source of the super-trios power, this is pretty much glossed over. The action fast forwards to the guys discovering their powers days or even weeks later. I would have preferred slightly more information about the origins of the strange glowing matter, but that’s obviously open to internet speculation and adds to the mystery.
The real fun part of the movie is watching the guys getting to grips with their powers including one particularly funny scene where they use their telekinetic powers in a department store. It’s every young boy’s dream (and grown mans!) to be able to fly and as the guys exercise their powers they begin to grow and develop like a muscle. Dreams of flight are realised through a spectacular flight scene involving an American football and a jumbo jet! An added facet of believably was the fact that as the guys are up at altitude they all wear outdoor coats and complain of the cold, this element isn’t glossed over like it is in other superhero films.
The film escalates taking slightly darker turns in response to Andrew’s rough home life. He has a mother who is very ill with something like COPD and an abusive, alcoholic father who is living off his fire-fighter’s disability pension. Andrew begins to take his anger out on other people and even a poor spider in a particularly predictable scene. In order to deal with Andrew’s erratic behaviour, Matt imposes rules on when they can and cannot use their powers to avoid hurting others, but as you can imagine, rules are made to be broken. The film takes an unexpected turn and then drives headlong to action packed finale which moves away from the self-shot video diary the rest of the film uses. The writers had to get creative with ways in which to tell the story and use CCTV images, news reports and mobile phone footage to keep the action coming. This is my best film of the year so far and has made a splash at the box office too. Superhero films are pretty much guaranteed hits at the moment, evidenced by the sheer popularity of franchises such as Iron Man and the upcoming Avengers films (Can’t wait!!) and also the new reboot of The Amazing Spiderman, so films that are a little bit out of left field like this offer a fresh take on the old formula.
Thinking back to the action in the film and the way in which the guys use their powers will provide you with something to talk about after the film. What would you do if you were in the same situation. I would probably use my powers to become the next Tiger Woods by day and Superman by night, with Y fronts over my leggings and all! If you haven’t seen the film, whet your appetite by watching the trailer below, and if you have leave a comment and let me know what you thought.