XCN Film Club: Chronicle
When I saw the trailers for Chronicle it was the typical “Meh” moment. It looked alright, but nothing special, just another film about kids who wind up with superheroes. Having watched the Spiderman films, I was pretty sure about what to expect.
Chronicle proved me wrong. Rather than the action-packed superhero film that I was fully expecting, I was presented with a rather thought provoking film about what drives people.
The film is about three high school students and follows them as they discover some strange glowing crystals in a cave near a rave they were (reluctantly) attending. The whole reluctant attendance thing may explain why they found the cave, which was in the middle of nowhere. This is where things start to get interesting, with the camera cutting to darkness during a shuddering cave in.
When the camera starts up again things have obviously changed. The main protagonist, Andrew, who has been portrayed as a loner up to this point, is in the company of two other people; his cousin Matt and Steve. The three, having escaped the cave in, seem to have forged a fast friendship, at least until they start hurling baseballs at each other. Our first hint that something is up starts with the baseballs which seem to be curving in midair, unerringly hitting the target in the face. Then Andrew stops a baseball in midair.
Over the next forty minutes we watch the three begin to explore their newfound powers, discovering that they can move things with their minds, but they can use that power in a few different ways. They quickly graduate from bending baseballs in midair to moving cars, stealing trolleys and even flying. Plus, as you continue to discover the extent of their power, you begin to understand each character more.
The film would be boring if everything was all fine and dandy so, true to form, things start to go a little awry. Each character has their own problems, which develop as the film goes on and the cracks in their relationship begin to widen.
Inevitably disaster strikes, and the film bursts into a veritable wealth of explosions and violence. I didn’t mind this, simply because I understood the reasons for it. The characters were superbly written and I could understand why each character did what they did.
The brilliant scripting is the only reason the film didn’t bore me to sleep halfway through, as some of it is really slow. I can understand why it was slow, but there is a definite lull that, by the end of the film is really noticeable. In the long run it made sense and was necessary, but sometimes it did just seem to drag on.
The only other complaint I have about the film is the way that it was filmed. The entire film was done through the use of personal, handheld cameras. I’ve loathed that particular style of film-making for ages, ever since I felt sick watching Cloverfield. In a turn up for the books though, I quite enjoyed the point of view that the handheld camera provides. The only issue with the point of view is that when things start to get interesting they have to start switching cameras. In fact, they force in another character – a love interest – that feels a little out of place, simply because there is another camera that they could use.
That aside though, the film is great. A relatively slow build-up manages to be fascinating and tense throughout and when the film climaxed it actually made gasp. Brilliant scripting and good casting meant that the characters were deep and interesting, and I never felt the need to look at my watch once during the film, which says a lot for how engrossing the film is. I loved watching how they grew and developed in the context of the other two as well.
For only 480 MSP (590 for HD) to rent on Zune, this film is well worth a look in, and it can be bought for 1770 MSP (2120 for HD).
Seriously guys, watch this.
Xboxer Score: 4/5