Josh Wilding Reviews: CHRONICLE
Before the movie was even released Fox were said to be talking to director Josh Trank about helming their Fantastic Four reboot. Is the hype justified? Find out here.
The found footage genre isn't what it once was. While movies such as Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity were initially a breath of fresh air, film lovers are left rolling their eyes when the likes of Apollo 18 and The Devil Inside hit the big screen. However, Josh Trank has injected new life into the genre thanks not only to some very clever tricks, but a great script and solid performances from the largely unknown cast. As per usual, we are given a reason as to why events are being filmed fairly early on and it never feels forced. Large periods of time often elapse between takes (the trio discovering the source of their powers and actually testing them out for example) because let's face it, you just wouldn't carry a camera around with you all of the time. It is this level of realism which results in Chronicle standing apart from not only other found footage flicks, but the formulaic world of superhero movies as a whole.
Andrew (Dane DeHaan) is a bullied loner whose cousin Matt (Alex Russell) introduces him to Steve (Michael B. Jordan) at a party he's reluctantly dragged along to after the discovery of a very mysterious hole in the ground. It isn't until they gain these powers that we begin to see them bond and actually become friends; an interesting group dynamic which sees Max Landis' clever script avoid any of the typical clichés seen a million times before in anything remotely similar to this concept. However, it doesn't take long for cracks to form in their already fairly fractious relationship as Andrew goes a step too far while using his newfound abilities. As his insecurities and messed up home life get worse, Chronicle takes a step into darker and far more serious territory which culminates in an action packed and breathtaking conclusion.
The three actors do a fantastic job of making these characters as real and relatable as as possible and it is hard to imagine this not being the movie which really kicks off their respective careers on the big screen. The decision to place Chronicle in the found footage genre makes it a far more intimate affair than had it been shot in the same way as a big budget superhero movie like X-Men: First Class and it is a blessing then that they so effectively make us believe in their friendship. A stand out scene sees Andrew, Matt and Steve realise that they can use their telekinetic powers to fly and is a perfect example to use when talking about just how good the entire film looks. The CGI is impressive throughout and never once falters, while the conclusion is arguably far more impressive than anything we've seen before in a comic book movie.
Before Chronicle was even released there was talk of Josh Trank being handpicked by 20th Century Fox to helm their reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise. It isn't hard to see why. He finds several clever ways in which to make the film look far more exciting than the "guy holding the wobbly camera" effect that we're already so used to seeing and the when the picture does come from another source, it is done so in a way which is neither jarring or distracting. Trank, who wrote the story with Landis before the latter got to work on the script, manages not only to make us care about these guys but also impresses in the action packed set pieces you would only expect to see from movies with budgets twice as big and featuring comic book characters known to millions. Chronicle isn't a superhero movie. There are no colourful characters and not a single pair of tights to be seen. What it is, is an original and refreshing take on superpowers which focuses just as much on telling a damn good story as it does delivering some amazing set pieces.
An original and thrilling cinematic debut from first time movie director Josh Trank which sets a new benchmark for future filmmakers looking to helm anything even remotely similar. You need to see this.
Three high school students make an incredible discovery, leading to their developing uncanny powers beyond their understanding. As they learn to control their abilities and use them to their advantage, their lives start to spin out of control, and their darker sides begin to take over.
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