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Chronicle: Movie Review

By tvnz.co.nz's Darren Bevan

Published: 10:47AM Wednesday February 01, 2012

  • Chronicle

Chronicle

Rating: 7/10

Cast: Michael B Jordan, Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell

Director: Josh Trank

What would you do if you were given superhero powers?

It's an age old conundrum, explored in this new sci-fi film from first time director Josh Trank.

Andrew (DeHaan) is a classic high school loner; bullied at school, abused by a drunken father at home and with a dying mother, he's not exactly going to win any popularity contests.

So, disillusioned with his life, he decides to start videotaping everything to put a barrier between himself and the world around him.

His life changes though, when he goes to a party along with his cousin Matt (Russell) and popular wannabe school president Steve (Jordan).

At this party, the trio of high school boys discover a hole in nearby woods which they, perhaps unwisely, decide to investigate. They find something in the ground which is pulsing, throbbing and somehow, grants them powers - albeit after a blast of light and a series of nose bleeds.

Soon, the trio have basic super-powers; they can levitate objects and as time goes on, their powers grow.

But while Steve and Matt are content to keep the powers quiet and not push the boundaries, Andrew's pressure cooker domestic life and teen emotions mean he embraces the darker side - and soon, all three of them find their lives spiralling out of control.

Chronicle is another of those found footage/ handheld shaky cam flicks which are so common these days - however, it'd be unwise to dismiss it because of that.

It's actually fresh, dark and a clever approach to what essentially could be a tired genre - we've all seen the superheroes having fun with their powers kind of films before; but by giving this one a slightly more disturbed and psychotic take on it (thanks to the performance of DeHaan who manages to juggle the life of an abused and angry teen as a troubled Andrew), it feels a lot more plausible and realistic because of the original take and cliché avoidance.

The effects (for the most part) are pretty well done too - and while the climax feels a little over the top at times, Chronicle represents an intelligent, smartly made new entry into the genre.

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