Squad Review: ‘Chronicle’

By: Jeff Hornassek

February 28, 2017

As part of a special new piece we are doing each month called our ‘Broback Moments’ where we revisit films of all types that came out this time five, ten, fifteen, twenty, and even more years ago. Last night I rewatched the film ‘Chronicle’ that debuted in February of 2012 and jump started the soon to be DOA career of Director Josh Trank.

The found footage movie is very polarizing to say the least. Most of us can’t even watch our old home movies without vomiting from dizziness, let alone sit through an hour and a half long movie with the same visual style. For me, Josh Trank (who somehow still didn’t make the worst Fantastic Four movie) perfectly executed not only the cinematography, but the intimacy that it evokes with regards to the characters in ‘Chronicle’. If only he could’ve done the same with his Fantastic Four movie…and also not choked Miles Teller.
I’ll break this movie down into three parts:
ACTING/CAST – Effing perfect. Michael B. Jordan (before we all realized that this dude an absolute savage when it comes to his talent) steals every scene he is in, and his chemistry with Dane Dehaan and Alex Russell reminded me of the kids at my high school when they weren’t shoving me into a locker. It’s clear that Trank understands the dynamic that adolescents have with one another, and Max Landis knows how to write for them as well.
STORY/PLOT – With such a short runtime, things come at you fast. The creative ways that Landis and Trank find to involve the camera in everyday situations is incredibly clever and allows you to fully immerse yourself in the story. We are introduced to these characters and quickly shown their motivations and set off on their arcs. The finale/climax is earned, and honestly I’m not sure how Trank was able to pull off what he did with what I’m assuming is not a tentpole budget.
REWATCHABILITY – Don’t get me wrong, what Trank was able to pull off here needs to be commended. He created strong relationships between the audience and his characters, but because of how morose everything in this movie is I’m unable to revisit it very often. I’m not saying at all that a movie has to be full of fairies and ponies for me to give it strong marks here, but when the main character is getting abused mentally and physically by his father in a third of his scenes, it’s not exactly something I get jacked up to throw in the Blu Ray player.
All in all, on it’s five year anniversary of release, I view ‘Chronicle’ as a genre film that has aged well like DianeĀ Lane or Hellen Mirren. I commend Josh Trank for doing something unique and taking a chance with this film. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go out into the woods and search for an alien artifact so I can get the badass powers displayed in this film.
-JH

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