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2012 | 83 min | PG-13 | 1.85:1



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

User reviews

3 user reviews

Movie appeal

Coming of age19%



Theatrical release date

 03 February, 2012
 02 March, 2012

Country of origin

 United States

Box office




Overview Preview Cast & crew User reviews News Forum

Screenshots from Chronicle Blu-ray

Chronicle Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, February 3, 2012

The found footage phenomenon sneaks into the superhero genre with “Chronicle,” an uneasy cross between a Morrissey record and a middling “X-Men” sequel. Chasing a trend with a slightly different goal in mind, director Josh Trank appears to be more interested in wowing his audience than selling a consistent tale of teenagers flirting with ultimate power. Little of the movie’s mysteries are developed, the acting is distractingly obvious, and the teen angst formula is laid on thick as tar, yet when the feature gets mean, it suddenly gets interesting. A visual effects demo reel in search of dramatic impact, “Chronicle” is frustratingly mediocre, absent a visionary filmmaker skilled at extracting a sense of peril from the material.

A hapless, lonely, depressed, abused, and bullied high school senior, Andrew (Dane DeHaan) has decided to record every step of his life with a camcorder. Chronicling his daily beatings and loner behavior, Andrew discovers he enjoys the attention and confessional opportunities the camera provides. After being humiliated at a party, Andrew notices his cousin Matt (Alex Russell) and popular classmate Steve (Michael B. Jordan) planning to enter a mysterious tunnel nearby. Inside, the excited trio uncovers something alien that quickly knocks them out. Returning to consciousness, the boys detect new powers of telekinesis, allowing them to move and bend heavy objects and even fly. While the euphoria of superhuman ability is met with awe by Matt and Steve, Andrew has a darker response, finding his capacity to destroy too intense to ignore, soon looking to exact revenge on those who’ve wronged him.

There’s a major flaw in the design of “Chronicle” that’s terribly bothersome. While it’s established that Andrew is attracted to documenting his misery, joining a narcissistic generation living their lives in front of a camera, there’s never an explanation as to why the paying audience is being exposed to this fantastical story. “Cloverfield” and “Paranormal Activity” at least made some effort to make it appear as though their found footage was collected for military and police study. “Chronicle” doesn’t bother with any explanation, leaving the picture without a perspective. It’s bad enough to see Andrew’s tapes tightly edited and conveniently captured (the trouble teen uses his power to float the camera around, permitting Trank to make use of cranes and steadicams), but there’s another camera hog in the mix, as Matt’s object of desire, Casey (Ashley Hinshaw), also carries an HD machine, with her angles seamlessly woven into the film. Later in the feature, security cams, cell phone footage, and news reports join the party. Why? Who’s putting Andrew’s story together with such widespread access to private footage? Trank loves to exploit his gimmick, but there’s little thought put into what’s steering “Chronicle,” keeping the effort distracting, occasionally sloppy.

If one can make it past the nagging inconsistencies of the footage presented, there are a few inspired moments keeping “Chronicle” upright. Dealing with teenagers, Trank and co-writer Max Landis embrace the possibilities of young men taking control of their minds, discovering their indestructibility and power to soar into the clouds, creating a completely new realm of play and prank previously unthinkable. “Chronicle” has fun with its visual effects, and while a few CGI adventures fail to convince, the production remains ambitious, looking to give the picture a sense of sci-fi scope. The script also pays close attention to Andrew’s growing psychological fissure, tracking the boy’s progress from a meek, melancholy wimp to a vengeful god-like being, spurred on by his alcoholic father and cancer-stricken mother, prompting the adolescent to destroy a world that’s wronged him on multiple levels. It’s a compelling exaggeration of traditional juvenile melodrama, also building a superhero mythos of its own, with Andrew’s wicked wrath challenged by Matt’s might and concern, leading to a destructive confrontation between the family members.

To the delightfully geeky, the finale of “Chronicle” might resemble the explosive superhero battle royal found in “Superman II,” watching as Andrew’s fury grows to previous unseen levels, decimating buildings and streets while civilians look on in amazement. After dilly-dallying with pubescent neuroses and strained depictions of dejection (DeHaan slops the mope on thick, often comically so) for 60 minutes, the picture grows a set of fangs for the climax, bending the PG-13 rating with some harrowing violence and mass destruction, finding an ideal tone of menace to match Andrew’s capacity for harm. The third act of “Chronicle” nails the balance between fantasy and pathos the script has been searching for all along, and I wish there was more of it spread around the movie. Without a hook for a sequel (a shocking omission), there doesn’t seem to be an outward plan to take the story anywhere else. It’s a shame, since “Chronicle” only begins to grasp its potential for spectacle in its closing moments.

Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, Alex Russell, Dane DeHaan, Ashley Hinshaw, Anna Wood
Director: Josh Trank

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Chronicle, Forum Discussions

Last post
Mutant Chronicles 39 Aug 03, 2009

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