Josh Trank directs this found footage sci-fi thriller as three high school friends gain superpowers after making a discovery, their lives changing drastically as they come to terms with what they can do and how they now relate to the world and each other, the film stars Michael B Jordan, Dane Dehaan, Alex Russell.
Chronicle stands as an idea that feels fresh and exciting, a premise that you’d imagine you’ve seen before but it turns out you haven’t seen anything exactly like it, this is in part because of the found footage format to things, the teens record things like them partying and themselves just hanging out with each other and as found footage films needing a reason for characters to film things, it’s believable that teenager would just film things for the hell of it. And that’s a credit to the good writing that’s present in the film, working to build a grounded high school setting for the characters and giving each of them interesting traits and quirks, though some do feel a bit tropey e.g. with Andrew (Dane Dehaan), the insecure outside who’s seen as a bit of a loser by the popular kids.
Using tropes like this isn’t always a bad thing and it works with the plot for specific reasons and because the performances are pretty strong from the main cast, Michael B Jordan as Steve and Dane Dehaan really bring their A game and stand out in roles that they seem to fit really well. A lot of the story is defined by character relationships, namely the three friends Andrew, Matt and Steve as normal people then as super powered people and the story takes you on a fun ride as the characters explore their powers and go around being teenagers as they would, the fun of the plot is in exploring what the characters would actually do with powers like flight or telekinesis. And I like that the plot respects their personalities, they’re not heroes or villains because they now have powers, they’re still just teenagers and want to do silly things, teasing each other and talking like actual teenagers, I like how this sort of practical view on having powers is conveyed which adds to the films sense of realism despite the premise.
The plot is ultimately very grounded and based on themes like friendship and it works to the films credit, not having events in the story that are a million miles away from normal life, the events in the story are extraordinary to a degree but still interesting.
There are some solid visual effects as well when it comes to the characters powers and seeing them on screen for a fairly low budget film, which cost $12.6 million to make and ended up making 10 times that back at the box office. Things take an interesting turn in the third act with Andrews own personal arc, which brings thing to a head in a pretty thrilling way, elaborating quite a lot on the established world that’s been set up in the story with a good, tense third act that sort of brings things full circle without forcing a sequel but leaving room for potential future stories.
. Plot is fun, engaging with a simple premise that goes down interesting paths, albeit a bit predictable
. Has good performances, especially Dane Dehaan, Michael B Jordan
. Plot makes interesting expansion on its characters