Boys will be boys.
CHRONICLE (2012) is in a short list of sci-fi‘s I like to recommend, and Chronicle is one of them. The film is a brilliant collaboration between director Josh Trank and Max Landis. I like that this film didn’t linger on the origins of where the source of power was found or where it all began. Instead, it focused, quite accurately, on how three teenagers would behave if they acquired superhuman abilities. Both Trank and Landis successfully adapt the “found-footage” genre of filming, offering a unique viewing experience.
The film mainly focus on the dejected and disheveled teen Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) who decides to film every difficult aspect of his life in some way, as an act to connect himself to the world around him. He lives with his verbally and physically abusive and alcoholic father, Richard (Michael Kelly); and his mother, Karen (Bo Petersen), lies in a bed painfully dying from cancer. To add insult to injury, Andrew is a target for bullying–at home and school.
Andrew’s cousin Matt (Alex Russell) mostly serves as an addition link to the outside world. It is obvious that Matt is annoyed with bringing him to school every day and having him tag along with him to parties. One evening in particular Matt and Andrew attend a rave. Andrew leaves the party and is later found by Steve (Michael B. Jordan), and asked him to follow him and to bring his video recorder because he and Matt found something strange in the woods.
They found a hole that emitted strange sounds and here is where Matt and Steve decide to go in and reluctantly, and Andrew follows. In the center, they find an otherworldly object and the closer they came to it, they began to experience nosebleeds–then the camera goes black.
When the filming begins again, you see the three of them exercise their telekinetic abilities, like throwing a baseball at each other in an effort to stop it mid air. You also see them carrying out various jokes about town, such as walking in the department store, playing pranks on shoppers. All the while they begin to notice that their newly found powers is increasing. The more they use their power, the stronger they become, as well as their friendship. Soon they can take flight–and Andrew becomes more socially–not.
You would think that all the new found popularity encourages Andrew to become more empathetic. Instead, he becomes more of a social recluse, and more dangerous. With his father attacking him and telling him that his friends are not his friends, Andrew snaps. When Steve tries to remind him of how important they all are to each other, he is struck by lightening and dies. When Matt confronts Andrew regarding the death of their best friend, he denies having anything to do with it. The bullying begins again at school–and Andrew’s anger progresses. Eventually, things turn out for the worse.
What I admired most about Chronicle is the film’s believability. It is believable that three teenage guys won’t readily think to go out and become superheroes. It’s easy and more fun to become pranksters. They were characters that anyone could relate to, laugh with and take their concerns as your own, and this is due to excellent script writing and fantastic performances by Russell, Jordan, and especially DeHaan. He defined the Andrew character; the outcast who, when imbued with power, becomes the catastrophic arch-nemesis.
Even the ‘found footage’ aspect of the film worked; the special effects worked. Chronicle came as a surprise–and it is a film that should not go disregarded.