Director: Josh Trank
Writers: Max Landis (screenplay), Max Landis (story), and 1 more credit
Stars: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan
Motion Picture Rating: 12A
Runtime: 84 minutes
I saw this film on DVD last weekend with my 14 year old nephew. It proved to be an excellent choice of movie and I am sure that the studio executives that bank rolled Chronicle had that teenage audience in mind from the start. There is actually something adolescent about the whole production and it certainly moves along with youthful charm and vigour.
Chronicle follows three high school boys aged 16 -18 that gain telekinetic powers after contact with a strange subterranean crystal. The life-changing encounter is not important as it’s the acclimatisation to their new mind control powers that rightly dominates the story. The boys are friendly, but not best friends at the start. They naturally grow closer as the implications of their shared secret start to dawn on them. Testing their powers, trying to keep the secret and navigating their way through high school all take their toll on the three, but in different ways.
The unique element of Chronicle, as referenced in that title, is that one of the three boys records their activities with a video camera. He takes it almost everywhere and so much so that almost the whole film has that handheld Blair Witch / Cloverfield feel to it. Here the first time director really shows off some wit and ingenuity. When the main camera is off limits he ropes in mobile phones, CCTV and police helicopter cameras to continue the big brother aesthetic.
This is a fresh and clever film. It has some particularly good scenes in the middle as the three boys act out Jackass style stunts by testing their new powers. At those points it is a lot of fun. Towards the end it loses some of its charm as the action gets bigger and bigger, but it’s still a good popcorn flick and an achievement for its relatively inexperienced cast and crew.