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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review: CHRONICLE


Anyone who has ever bullied another kid in school should be forced to watch Chronicle. It's easily the best "found footage" movie so far. Chronicle took everything that was good about Cloverfield, Quarantine, The Blair Witch Project, and others and kept it, all the while eliminating and fixing the things that were wrong with those films. Chronicle is a very good movie.

I won't talk much about the plot. The less you know, the better. Chronicle's trailer does a good job of mildly misleading you. Basically, Chronicle is the story of how the troubled Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) and two of his friends (Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan) find some sort of mysterious glowing rock. We should all know by now - don't touch it. Before long, the three have developed extreme telekinesis.

The screenplay by Max Landis (son of John Landis) is astonishingly well-written. All the characters we meet feel real, and talk like people talk. It shouldn't even have to be said why that's a good thing, but these days, it seems to be rare. The authentic feel of the dialogue and characters play into the single biggest success of Chronicle - it feels real. It's so crucial that a movie shot handy-cam style feel real. This is where Cloverfield failed. The main other component to this authenticity is the performance of your main actors. While Cloverfield did have that, it just didn't match the level that Chronicle reaches.

Our main actors do a phenomenal job of convincing you that they're real people that you might actually know. DeHaan especially. While Russell and Jordan (Bummer that he'll have to use his middle initial for the rest of his career) give strong performances, it's DeHaan who blows everything out of the water. He has that quality of someone you've actually met before, someone who you've felt sorry for. He's kind of an older Joel Courtney (Super 8), where we can feel his emotions as strong as he feels them. Chronicle plays to his fall as a tragic hero, and we are with him every step of his fall.

This is Josh Trank's feature film debut. In Chronicle, he's created a phenomenal origin story of a hero and a villain that legitimately feels fresh. Trank, who also co-wrote the story with Landis, has proven that he's a filmmaker with a true vision and spirit. I eagerly await his next project, be it handy-cam or not.

Remember the guy that brought the shotgun to work and killed his boss and coworkers? Good thing that guy didn't have superpowers.

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