This one's a Must-see!

Steve (left) with Matt, cousin of Andrew.

Wonderful; refreshingly smart

If you’ve seen many teen superhero movies but never been quite certain how teenagers actually would react to aquiring superhuman abilities, go see Chronicle for there the answer can be found. And it’s about time too.

Josh Trank is the director of Chronicle; another one of those “found footage”-movies, but one must admire this one for how it uses old and standard teen movie clichés but still works magnificently. We get only one genuinely new thing here – believable teen superheroes and their interactions and personalities is enough to make Chronicle a wonderful movie experience.

Our lead is a young man named Andrew (portrayed greatly by Dane DeHaan), the typical bullied kid with a sick mother (Bo Petersen) and an abusive, heartless father (Michael Kelly). He is the one who gets majority of the film on tape, using his new video camera. He attends a party with his cousin Matt (Alex Russell) and their new friend Steve (Michael B. Jordan), where the three of them make an extraordinary discovery in the nearby forest – some sort of strange glowing crystal in a hole. They all touch it before the place caves in and they have to escape.

Soon they realize that the crystal somehow gave them superpowers and immediately they start filming themselves using their abilities.  Most of the film’s comedy comes from how fun these guys are having with what they can do. Of course they also start using their gifts to show off and gain poularity amongst their fellow teens, but another cliché comes along eventually and makes things unpleasant. Andrew, who nearly kills someone with his powers at two different times, goes insane and corrupt with power, ignoring the concern and warnings of both Steve and Matt. Things become dark.

No, this part isn't shot like a normal film either; Andrew levitates the camera with his powers.

No, this part isn't shot like a normal film either; Andrew levitates the camera with his powers.

What I described sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Indeed, it is typical that one member of the gang becomes the bad guy towards the end. But like I said, the film is just so refreshing in how brilliantly it uses these characters and their powers that the clichéd parts don’t matter or damage the film even a bit.

I must say, though, I do wish they could’ve just stopped the whole “found footage”-gimmick after Andrew lost his mind. Why not make a shift both in cinematography and tone, like District 9 did? Why not jump from found footage to regular cinematic film? I mean, there are even parts near the climax where we get shots that can’t possibly have been filmed by a bystander with a camera, an iPhone or anything else. It’s as if the filmmaker’s said “screw it”, which they could have done earlier.

However, Chronicle has tremendously clever ways of explaining and justifying certain angles in the movie, by having some parts be seen through the lens of other people’s cameras, security cameras, phone cameras, news chopper cameras; the list goes on. Though on the other hand, one’s gotta wonder who found all this footage and eventually edited it all together to bring us the movie we’re presented with. It makes very little sense yet it’s very very smartly done.

That’s the key word here –  smart. This is a smart film by smart people who clearly know which clichés would have ruined the film and which clichés can be kept in. They knew what had to be done. They knew what kind of movie we needed to see. I would be scarcely surprised if they were inspired to make something this clever and delightful after enduring I Am Number Four, which was the polar opposite of refreshing.

The humour is great, the drama is great, the characters are great, the action is great, the performances are great; Chronicle is just a purely great film. Out of the film’s I’ve attended this year, this is the smartest and most wonderful picture yet. It is brilliant. Absolutely, smashingly brilliant.

5/5 whatever.

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