Friday, February 3, 2012

Movie Review: "Chronicle"

I am generally not a fan of found footage movies.  From Blair Witch Project to Cloverfield, I've never really felt that these films had much to say.  They were gimmicks used to get cheap thrills, or to tell a conventional story that has nothing else going for it than the found footage angle, but what Chronicle does, is that it not only plays on the superhero genre, but it also works as a fascinating expose on modern teenage culture.

The premise is simple, a teenage outcast takes to videotaping his life, then one night him and two other guys travel into a mysterious cave, and when they emerge they all have telekinetic powers.  The film then doesn't bother itself with being a superhero film, but rather a realistic exploration of what would more than likely actually happen if teenagers got super powers in real life.  Well, they'd abuse them of course.

Actor Dane Dehaan is the thread that holds the whole movie together, as outcast teen, Andrew, filming his whole life.  By choosing to do the found footage approach, it shortchanges all of the other characters, but makes Andrew's character all the stronger, and it actually portrays an outcast's turn to violence, with more clarity than films without the fantastical elements.  In a world such as the one we live in, it's surprising to find a film that is so socially minded, wrapped up in a film that will appeal to the crowd that most needs to see this cautionary tale.  While it isn't perfect, or by any means all that rewatchable, it's a genuine surprise that is worth seeing.

I give Chronicle a B

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