Saturday, February 04, 2012

"Chronicle" (2012) - Movie Review

“Chronicle” clearly is a refreshing approach to the super hero genre. Yeah, that genre which has been beaten to death, buried, cremated and the ashes have been spread and found to be assimilated and put together again. This whole process continues forever. Director Josh Trank’s footage found dealing of this genre succeeds for most parts not alone for the new presentation but more towards the fun these young upcoming talents have in it.

Apart from Alex Russell, you would know Michael B. Jordan from TV series The Wire and Friday Night Lights and if you are an In Treatment fan like me, you cannot forget the memorable annoying character Dane DeHaan created. These three are the reason the film works for main and important first half. Granted that the screenplay by Max Landis and to create the story along with Josh Trank is the key reason but without these three vital performances it would have lost the reality they try to emote. We believe in these three high school kids who in their character find this extraordinary powers to fly, crush and do whatever the heck they can with conviction.

Dane DeHaan is Andrew, the high school teenager with a troubling home of an abusive alcoholic father and a dying mom. He begins to record his every day event which begins as an evidence collector for the abuse he gets at home, but we realize that his high school bullies and street thugs continue that outside of his home. His cousin Matt (Alex Russell) gives him ride to the school and Matt is internally torn between being a good cousin he grew up with and the ambition to be the popular dude in the school. Andrew of course knows it. He is shrinking internally unable to fight back and going through this suffering day by day. Sadly this is a typical case that happens in several house holds. At least you would remember one such friend in your high school life regardless where you are from.

Then there is Steve, the star man of the school. He is popular, quite a nice guy when we get to know him and all destined to be the next big thing once he gets out of the school. These three find a spot of this mystical cave that has no place to be there and the exploration if provides these kids some phenomenal powers. This is the best part about the film. The discovery and mastering of these new found powers. The things they do with that. The pranks they pull and the fun they begin to have. How many times we would have fantasized this happening to us? How many times we would have discussed about flying wherever you want and do whatever you can? These three live it up with much association with every one of our imagination during those times.

I especially liked how these three are in this metamorphosis of becoming another person through this high school phase. What would have happened to Andrew if he continued his life without these powers? He would have ended up tormenting himself because ultimately that is the thing he can hurt and control or may be found out that high school is a phase and after the eventual tragedies in his family, he would have moved on. But that did not happen. He not alone acquires these powers but becomes an expert at it. He picks up the powers easily at first strike and multitasks effortlessly. This seems to be his calling.

More than that Andrew acquires the best of all powers, being friends with two cool guys. Steve is not the stereotypical jock, well he is sort of but he opens up in to this nice guy who begins to understand the loneliness and struggle Andrew goes through. He truly wants to help him. And then there is Matt who is beginning to be drawn to the academia of philosophy and psychology initially as a desperate show of eclectic visualization towards life but soon the recent events make him embrace that with whole heart. He begins to relate to the uniqueness of pain Andrew goes through.

Beyond these character studies, “Chronicle” which firmly holds up its fort begins to crumble as Andrew’s misery takes a turn. His emotional seclusion and the persistent and pestering shutting off people takes him to dark territories. While those dark territories are where the crux of the third act, it falls for the regular good versus evil in the end. It begins to deteriorate the solid characters these three actors developed into CGI fun display. Right after the stardom of Andrew and the party fiasco, the film tanks and lost interest in me as it took Andrew’s rage into something else. While we do see the consistent tragedies of teenagers picking up weapons to quench their anger, “Chronicle” takes these powers as weapon and makes Andrew to wage a full scale war in the city of Seattle. This does not mean I am not a sucker for some good entertaining fight but “Chronicle” had higher hopes. This is some first class work from fresh faces and talents and as much as it did float away itself into mediocrity in the end, this is a great evidence that there is nothing in creativity that gets exhausted.

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