A group of three high school students discover a mysterious hole in the ground which, when they enter, gives them super powers. Over the course of the film, their powers develop, getting stronger and more varied, but as they do so, they struggle to cope with their new abilities.
With comic book adaptations meaning that superhero films are now an all too common sight in cinemas, Chronicle could easily just get swept away beneath an already saturated tide. However, this isn’t a superhero film at all, but more a realistic (or as realistic as you can get with such subject matter) examination of what might happen should some pretty regular kids with real problems suddenly have extraordinary abilities thrust upon them.
Chronicle is filmed in a shaky-cam, found footage style that has become rather popular over the last few years, with films such as Cloverfield basing their entire filming format around it. It works well enough in Chronicle but, as is often the case, it can become a little disorientating when things get a little more frantic. It also feels, at times, a little unnatural for people to be carrying cameras round at all times – almost a case of shoehorning this into the plot to continue the shaky-cam style throughout.
The three male leads are solid, with Andrew’s (Dane DeHaan) story taking more of a centre stage. With a rather modest run time, this does mean that the other two protagonists, and Steve’s (Michael B Jordan) in particular, feel a little underdeveloped. Despite this, Chronicle offers a decent big screen debut for director Josh Trank and is enjoyable and different enough to distinguish itself from more run of the mill films of a similar ilk.
Words: Chris Thomson