Film Review: Chronicle

Chronicle is a highly enjoyable science fiction film. Don’t be deterred by the age of the protagonists; the film should satisfy a wide demographic.

Teenager Andrew decides to start filming his day-to-day life; a clear indicator of his detachment from fellow students and the social order of the American high school. When his cousin Matt and popular classmate Steve find something unusual at a party, they ask Andrew to come along and film it. The trio soon discover some unusual side effects…

Chronicle is a very entertaining directorial debut from Josh Trank. The reason the film functions so well is because it fulfils the regular super hero movie tropes, but in a way that is fresh and interesting. The screenplay by Max Landis is great in its ability to combine teen concerns with a science-fiction narrative.

Characters in Chronicle appear multi-faceted. At first, the three main players seem like broad stereotypes. However, complexities arise as the film progresses. The interactions between these three in particular come across as authentic. There is some good humour that helps to balance the later seriousness of Chronicle. The film’s initial set up works well to absorb viewers; there is sufficient mystery which is retained for a significant part of the duration.

The handheld camera works well in Chronicle. There seems more of a point to the characters filming, compared with many ‘found fotage’ films. The special effects are decent, with some impressive sequences. The film exhibits elements of certain 1970s films, notably Superman and Carrie. Thankfully Chronicle does not attempt to rip them off; they appear as slight influences instead.

Dane DeHaan is fantastically cast as Andrew. He certainly looks the part of the isolated teen, with mannerisms to match. Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan share great chemistry as Matt and Steve. Chronicle should certainly raise the profile of these three actors.

Josh Trank and Max Landis have produced a great film. Chronicle functions superbly as a sci-fi/superhero/teen movie hybrid and is highly recommend for those with an interest in any of these film genres.