Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Teen Chronicle

Chronicle (2012) was kind of a big thing back in 2012. It was on several blogger's "Best of" lists that year, as a plucky little indie that delivered. We finally got around to watching it, and concur.

It is shot from the point of view of a teenage outcast, Dane Deehan. He has an abusive father and a mother dying of cancer, and he has decided to record everything - the whole movie is the movie he is making. We next meet his cousin and only friend (kind of friend), Alex Russell, who is kind of a hipster - he makes a big deal about all the pretentious literature he is reading, and talks about dropping out of the whole "popularity" thing. These two go to a rave, meet up with popular jock Michael B. Jordan, and discover a glowing McGuffin in a hole in the woods.

The film cuts off here (this is all "found footage", remember), and when it comes back in, the three are fooling around with new-found powers. They can control matter with their minds, and as they practice, they get better at it, until they can fly. They use these powers about like you'd expect: goofing around, pranks, to get popular. They don't use them to solve crimes or rob banks, but it's not because they are responsible and mature. It's because they are slackers and just aren't into it. But one of the kids goes dark, then darker, and then, finally, there's the big battle climax.

As I said, this is an indie production by first-time feature director Josh Trank, from a script by Max (No Relation) Landis. The found footage frame worked well, especially when Deehan learned to levitate the camera for a more interesting POV. The special effects were good and (I have read) innovative, although these days, it's pretty hard to impress with special effects. You'll really judge this based on how well you think it handles the dynamics of the three friends, as well as how the premise plays out.

I think it stands the test of time.

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