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Chronicle

Chronicle: Teens With Superpowers

  • Alex RussellDane DeHaan...
  • Action & AdventureDrama...
  • Josh Trank
reviewed by
Yasmin Shehab
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Chronicle: Teens With Superpowers

Power makes people do strange things. They get drunk on the feeling of
superiority that it conjures up and foster the belief that they’re entitled
to treat people like crap. Chronicle
tells the story of a high school loser who suddenly finds himself endowed with
the power to retaliate.

Andrew (DeHaan), the aforementioned high school loser, buys a camera and
starts filming his whole life, both at home and at school. While at a party
with his cousin Matt (Russell) and Matt’s friend Steve (Jordan), the trio
stumble across a gaping, rumbling tunnel that leads to an underground cavern
filled with what looks like glowing, blue stalagmites. Their exposure to the
radiation emitted gives them powers of telekinesis. Gleeful, they start out
small while testing their powers; skimming rocks, assembling Lego, etc. but
they soon graduate to bigger things such as moving cars around. Their magnum
opus comes when they teach themselves how to fly.

While all three of them pick up their new skills rather intuitively,
Andrew is something of a prodigy and is suddenly the runt of the litter and he finds
himself more powerful than everyone around him. As time goes on,
his lashing-out becomes more deadly and he turns into a time bomb, ready to
explode at the slightest provocation. It’s up to Matt and Steve, who are both
weaker than him, to knock some sense back into him before he loses all control.

Chronicle is a small, familiar
story that is told very well. DeHaan’s role as Andrew goes beyond the
dangerously unhinged loser stereotype and everything we see about his life at home
and at school really fleshes out his character and makes him transcend the
stereotypes. He’s not just a high school loser that flips because he isn’t
popular. He’s a guy who’s bullied at school, physically abused at home and has
to deal with an alcoholic father and a dying mother whose medication they can’t
afford. He has nobody to talk to and so turns to his camera as a way of expressing
his thoughts and feelings. The camera also acts as a barrier between him and
the world; a way of distancing himself from everything that’s happening to him.

The score is as sparse as can be, possibly even nonexistent, but the film
is very clever and original in its use of music. A scene where Andrew dons a mask
and prepares to go out and steal the money needed to buy his pain-stricken
mother her medication is accompanied by David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and it really makes an impact. It’s this kind of
attention to detail that really elevates the film.

Chronicle could have been yet another entry in the
teens-with-superpowers genre, but in the hands of director Josh Trank, the film
is a psychological character study about the effect of power in the hands of
the unstable. That makes it sound a bit deeper than it actually is but the fact
remains that Chronicle is cool and
smart.

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I am Number Four, The Covenant, Elephant

360 Tip

Director Josh Trank, stuck the three leads in a house for two weeks with an X Box, Playstation and a bunch of video games to get them in touch with their inner seventeen-year-olds, to bond and to form the relationship they have in the movie.

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