Friday, February 3, 2012

Review: Chronicle [2012]

Release Date: 1 February 2012 (Malaysia), 3 February 2012 (USA)
Directed By: Josh Trank
Written By: Max Landis, Josh Trank
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan, Ashley Hinshaw
In A Nutshell:
Presented in the "found footage" format where lonely and bullied teenager, Andrew (played by Dane DeHaan) has decided to carry along a video camera everywhere with him and record every single moment that is happening in his life. One night he follows his cousin, Matt (played by Alex Russell) and popular student-politician, Steve (played by Michael B. Jordan) into a mysterious underground hole where they soon gain superhuman telekinetic powers. Initially they start to use their powers for fun stuff like pranks but as they grow more powerful, Andrew starts to abuse his powers.
Thumbs Up:
+ The mash-up of multiple genres and also the smart script results in what feels like something very fresh and original
+ Plenty of fun and humour in the first half (especially when the boys learn to develop their powers)
+ Dark and disturbing tone for the second half
+ Great special effects with thrilling set-pieces, particularly when the boys learn that they could fly
+ Commendable performances from the actors especially from Dane DeHaan.
Thumbs Down:
- The "found footage" format doesn't really work for the action-packed finale (had to rely on multiple other video sources)
- The ending/how the camera is left to be discovered lacks the necessary "punch" or shock like other movies in the "found footage" genre.
- The role of Casey (played by Ashley Hinshaw) as the girl carrying the other video camera is under-deveoped
The Verdict Is In:
As far as films using the "found footage" theme goes, I have to say that Chronicle delivers the most fun and exciting scenes yet. The boys goofing around while learning to develop their powers especially when they discover that they can fly is an ultra-delight to view. Having super-powers also helps the film's hand-held concept as Andrew controls the camera telekinetically. This results in a lot more variety of views while still keeping that intimate feel for us spectators.

From the fun and excitement in the first half, the movie returns to the genre's more familiar dark and thrilling theme for the second. The action-packed finale is very entertaining but that is where the "found footage" concept fails. The hand-held perspective in intended to give us viewers an authentic and intimate feel, but the multiple cameras during the finale battle (surveillance footage from nowhere shows up and reliance from random people's camera recordings) take away that originally intended feel.

At the end of the day, Chronicle is indeed one highly enjoyable feature. Admittedly, I had long anticipated that 2012 will be a great year for movies, but I'd never expected Chronicle to be as good as it turned out to be. We've only just left January, but I already have a feeling that with this film's fresh approach and ideas, it will be on my 20 Favourites Movies of 2012 come next January! If it doesn't, that means 2012 will truly be an exceptionally great year for the movies. Either that, or because we won't get to see next January like the Mayans had predicted.
8 out of 10


  1. am gonna see this am gonna see this!...tapi next week baru ada masa...haih!

  2. great... just don't go in expecting the typical superhero movie of... saving the world, fighting evil, rescuing girl, etc...

  3. Sweet, sounds great! Thanks for the review. I'll hopefully catch this next weekend.

  4. Thanks Pete... I've read on your blog that you're researching found footage films for your PhD.... I'll say this film will offer something different in the hand-held types


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