Ok, so I’m a sucker for superhero flicks. I loved the Tim Burton Batman films and I love Christopher Nolan’s even more. I also greatly enjoyed Raimi’s Spiderman films (yes, even the third one, though I admit it wasn’t nearly as good as the first two) and I look forward to the reboot. X-Men, Superman, Hulk, Green Lantern, I loved them all.
With that said, I freaking loved Chronicle, but it’s not a superhero movie.
Yes, from the trailers it has the feel of a superhero flick with people flying around, and moving cars and more with their minds. Chronicle is much more than that. It’s a film about choices and how the people and events in our lives influence those choices for better or for worse. It doesn’t hold you by the hand and tell you that this person is evil or this person is good. People are not predetermined to be heroes or villains.
So what is Chronicle about? Without giving too many spoilers, it’s mainly about the life of Andrew. The movie is played out in the typical “found footage” style but the film crew came up with a very clever way for it to be that type of film without the entire thing turning out like Cloverfield. You have your “shaky-cam” parts but most of the film is shot with a fairly steady hand. The footage we are watching is mostly from Andrew’s camera. We are shown Andrew’s home life with his abusive father and dying mother. We also get to see him bullied at school. These scenes don’t have the typical “look I’m a tortured kid” vibe about them. They actually make you feel sorry for Andrew and understand how these events and others steer him towards the choices he makes. (As a side note, the creepiest scene involves Andrew and a spider)
I was honestly surprised at how how much I enjoyed Chronicle. I went in expecting a movie with one dimensional characters and wooden acting with the focus being on the special effects. I was wrong. The movie has it’s share of hits and misses but overall it is engaging and fairly intelligent. It will make you laugh and moments later tug at your heart. It was shot on a fairly small budget by first time director Josh Trank. It was written by Max Landis, son of John Landis (An American Werewolf In London), based on a story by Trank and Landis. The story left some things left unanswered but in a way that will be used to setup the sequel if the first film manages to pull in enough money.
It’s no Dark Knight, but Chronicle is a great movie on it’s own merits. If you enjoy films that don’t fell the need to spoon-feed the plot to you but acknowledge the audience can think for themselves then you should definitely give Chronicle a chance.