Looking Back at 2010s Films: Chronicle (2012)

22 Nov

By Tanner Smith

Well, before director Josh Trank’s name became a punchline thanks to the messy blockbuster “Fantastic Four” (or “Fant4stic,” as people like to call it), he had a sleeper hit with the 2012 found-footage superhero teen film “Chronicle.”

Honestly, I feel bad for the guy for what happened with “Fant4stic.” He probably could’ve had something special if not for the studio interference. (Again, the studio system strikes.) Let’s see if he’s doing anything else.

*quick Google search*

Oh OK, he’s doing an Al Capone film with Tom Hardy, called “Fonzo.” Sounds good. Wonder when that’s coming out.

But back to “Chronicle.” “Chronicle” is a film about three high-school students–Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Matt (Alex Russell), and Steve (Michael B. Jordan)–who come across some sort of otherworldly portal that leads them to a force that gives them superpowers. They have telekinesis, they can fly, and they’re stronger the more they use their abilities (“like a muscle”). Because it’s a found-footage movie (though from the perspective of different cameras to tell the whole story), they document it all–the kid holding the camera for the most part (Andrew) even operates it without touching it (meaning there’s very little shaky cam here!). But Andrew, who comes from a broken home and is constantly bullied in school, starts to feel dangerous urges with his new strength and uses them to get back at people who do him wrong.

The first half of “Chronicle” is lots of fun to watch over and over. The kids are played as real kids, they work off each other brilliantly, and they behave the way I think real kids would behave if they suddenly gained superpowers. (Although, wouldn’t it be more interesting if they showed it to their classmates? I digress.) The effects are nicely done, especially for the low budget. (The flying sequences are a little dated, but they’re not terribly done.) And I love seeing them experiment with their abilities–pranking people, flying around, catching a baseball mid-air through mind powers, and even the damage they can cause if they’re not careful…which brings me to the second act, which is very dark and grisly. Much of it has to do with Andrew’s loss of control, which if you go back and watch the film again is inevitable rather than sudden. It bothered me when I first saw “Chronicle”–it doesn’t anymore.

What I like best about “Chronicle” overall is that it tells the full story. It doesn’t set up for a sequel. There’s an obvious beginning, middle, and end, with all the right buildups and just about every right payoff, and it’s told very satisfyingly.

With that said, I do wonder what Matt found when he set off on his quest to find out what happened to him and his friends–what was that thing down there in the tunnel? Where did it come from? But on the other hand, maybe it’s best to keep wondering. I like “Chronicle” just the way it is.

One Response to “Looking Back at 2010s Films: Chronicle (2012)”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Prepping for My Top 20 Films of the 2010s | Smith's Verdict - November 26, 2019

    […] “Roma,” “Her,” “Inception,” “La La Land,” “Chronicle,” “The Master,” “Flight,” “Dunkirk,” “Searching,” […]

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