By Tommy Bond, Film Critic
Chronicle is hands down the most excitingly creative, dazzling “found footage” film I have ever seen. Ever.
A super hip, superhero origin story told in first person, this flick tells the tale of Steve, Andrew and Matt, three high school students who stumble upon an eerie rock in an eerie hole in the ground.Being young and reckless, they touch it. Their noses spurt blood and they black out.
What just happened?
When we see them again, they are in a backyard, experimenting with their new-found powers of telekinesis.
Clumsy at first, they eventually learn to control their powers enough to crush cars and levitate themselves into the air. We call it the power of flight.
These first scenes are pure joy, a vicarious experience that will amaze even the most jaded film goers.
Director Josh Trank and company smoothly blend a perfect amount of stylized teenage existence with incredibly realistic portrayals of what it must be like to learn new superpowers. (You have to let go of that whole “reality” thing first, though).
Would hormone driven young men simply use their powers to help old ladies get across the street? Get real!
These kids move cars to new parking spaces when their owners aren’t looking and position leaf-blowers to help them get a peek underneath skirts. Yeah, that seems about right.
It’s all documented by Andrew’s camera, at first anyways, which originated as an attempt to stop his alcoholic father from beating him so much and show his dying mother what he is up to all day.
But eventually all films of this genre reach a realization – having only one camera sucks. No worries here, as writer Landis and Trank find ingenious ways to show the film from a wide variety of angles, all of them believable and sensible.
They one-up themselves, however, by allowing Andrew to develop such control of his powers that his camera floats above and beside him at all times, a near-extension of his body. This wise choice gives us smooth tracking shots, making this film both cinematic and realistically gritty.
Just as the first half of the film is a joyous celebration of the human spirit of exploration and freedom, the latter half is diametrically darker, bleaker and more claustrophobic.
For all that these powers can be used for good, so too can they be used for evil. For those who want to restrain their powers, there is at least one who wants to dangerously push further. For every hero, there must be a villain.
Both a smartly written, teen action flick and a serious, dark commentary on power and our sadly increasing dependency on technology, Chronicle packs a serious punch. You’ll want to watch it again, just as soon as you catch your breath.
Directed by Josh Trank. Written by Max Landis.
Rated PG-13 for intense action and violence, thematic material, some language, sexual content and teen drinking.
Running Time: 83 Minutes.
Released in theatres: February 3rd, 2012.