20th Century Fox
While the idea behind Chronicle is a Hollywood repeat, it creates high expectations with realistic twists and a redeveloped sense of the first person camera view experience.
The film takes place in King County where three kids discover a meteorite that gives them telekinetic superpowers. The film aims to push realism and a great example of it’s when the kids must learn to develop and control their powers which are at first weak and difficult to control. The kids first use their powers for small pranks
Later as their powers develop they’re able to accomplish increasingly awesome feats like flying. Eventually the power corrupts them and they use it in accordance to the darker side of human nature. Again, this all works to produce a more realistic picture of the fantasy superpower genre.
An element of realism that didn’t work in their favor was a Clover Field-esque first person point of view. Throughout the movie the main character, Andrew Detmer (Dane Dehaan), films his experiences with his power. Artistically there are some very cool shots, however it seems as if having everything filmed took away some realism. It would’ve been more effective in a third person point of view, which would’ve made some unanswered questions easier to understand, as well as removed the restraints of some character always having to record every incident.
The first half deserves four stars, however the second half fails to live up to the standard set by the first half. These early expectations slowly wear off, and eventually fall away to an unfortunate climax. The acting wasn’t done well enough to carry it through some of the more intense scenes in the second half of the movie. The visuals are good for a lower budget film and they progress in complexity toward the end. The visuals finish with a fight scene across the skyline of Seattle, which takes the fighters all around and partly through the Space Needle.
The film is actually a complex allegory. Although I always enjoy allegorical stories, I missed this one completely. To catch the subtleties and inside knowledge that director Josh Trank uses in the film, the audience better be familiar with film school and the evolution of cinema into modern Hollywood, if not, you may miss the allegory like I did.
The characters sometimes quote notable thinkers. Plato and his cave allegory are referenced, which is perhaps a clue to Trank’s own use of allegory. I looked for deeper meaning in how the quotes apply to the characters but found nothing. It could’ve been a tool to reinforce social stereotypes of the characters, but I missed it.
I give it three out of five stars
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