Chronicle–Movie Review

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4.5 Stars

Chronicle is the most original take on the basic superhero/supervillain trope since 2009’s Watchmen. But the two aren’t very similar. Both are dark, but Watchmen is whimsical and ironic, while Chronicle takes a more realistic approach and feels more believable, though less funny.

Chronicle is a “found footage” movie where everything is supposed to have been recorded on some amateur’s video camera as the events were occurring. This can feel rather claustrophobic but director Josh Trank finds some ingenious ways to work around the limitations of the convention.

The story begins when a nerdy high school student named Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) acquires a video camera and decides to record everything that happens in his life, which unsurprisingly gets him beaten up more than once.. His cousin Matt Garetty (Alex Russell) tries to talk him out of it. Matt seems smarter and more mature, but Andrew will not be discouraged.

At a party they meet two key people. A pretty girl named Casey (Ashley Hinshaw) makes a habit of videotaping everything for her blog. This allows many scenes to be shot with two cameras which opens things up quite a bit.

Another boy named Steve Montgomery is ambitious but carefree and incautious. He’s just discovered something great: a mysterious hole in the ground in the nearby woods. He talks Andrew and Matt into going down the hole with him, where they discover a creepy glowing crystalline thing.

Soon afterward the three of them find that they can levitate Legos and do other neat things. And their abilities keep on developing. Andrew seems particularly talented. (He soon learns to levitate the camera, allowing all sorts of aerial shots.)

But of course new abilities lead to new challenges and temptations. Will they use their new powers for good or evil?

This is a smart and powerful movie with excellent performances from some relatively unknown actors.