Film Review: CHRONICLE

Directed by Josh Trank
Written by Max Landis
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan, Ashley Hinshaw

This is a movie I would never have seen if our front hallway wasn’t being renovated. The noise, the smell, the disruption drove us to the theater and February is not a month where you will find many good films. Luckily, we chanced upon CHRONICLE.

CHRONICLE shares many traits with CARRIE. A teenager, being abused at home and attacked at school, finds a way to retaliate. Blood is involved. Otherworldly events occur.

PLOT: Andrew (DeHaan) dwells in one of the deeper circles of hell. His Dad is an alcoholic crybaby. His mother is dying. His house looks like the angst inside it is pushing at its walls. He’s a punching bag at school. His only friend, a cousin (Russell), is a bit leery of him too. He can see the rage building. Andrew decides to document his torment by filming everything. This is not a way to win friends or soothe Dad.

But then things do change. The two cousins make friends with one of the popular kids at school (Jordan) at a rave. The three boys discover a perfect circle in the earth outside the venue. Exploration of the hole bestows them with telekinesis. The first half of the movie explores their attempts to control and test their powers. This is light-hearted and fun.

But the second half turns dark. Andrew has been psychologically damaged by his home life and eventually uses his powers in a Darth Vader kind of way. The switch from fun-loving boys to watching Andrew implode and explode is abrupt and nasty. As it should be.

There was a bit too much time spent on blowing things up but hey, this movie is basically meant for teenagers. The ones in our theater didn’t mind a bit. I would recommend this film for several reasons. Its parallels with Carrie are fascinating. It’s the debut of a director I think we will hear more from. It was made on a shoestring. And lastly, it is darn original. The only thing I would scrap is that handheld camera idea. Shaky is so Blair Witch.

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