Esteban Gonzalez’s review published on Letterboxd:
¨A lion does not feel guilty when it kills a gazelle, right? You do not feel guilty when you squash a fly... and I think that means something. I just think that really means something. ¨
During a time in Hollywood where we are constantly bombarded with superhero films, it felt fresh to see a different kind of movie in this genre. Here we actually are introduced to three characters who receive a special power (telekinesis), but instead of becoming superheroes they actually act like three young teenagers would really act if given this special ability. They begin to play pranks on other people, goof around, and have fun. They aren`t interested in saving the world or putting on a cape in order to stop a dangerous villain. They just decide to have fun with their extraordinary powers. The story moves along nicely at a very interesting pace until we reach the third and final act which I didn't end up enjoying as much as the rest of the film. When one of the characters begins to abuse his special powers and decides to act revengefully, the film sort of goes over the top and that`s when I began to lose interest. I think they just decided to go way over the top when unfortunately the movie was moving along at a great pace. I had a lot of fun with this movie and that is my only complaint. I`d give it a much higher grade if it weren't for that final act. I was really surprised with this movie since none of the actors are really known, but they do give believable performance. First time director, Josh Trank, who also wrote the story along with Max Landis, really proves himself with Chronicle, and he will be someone to look out for in the future. He managed to direct a very good action film with good visual effects on a very low budget, so he deserves a lot of credit for his work.
The story centers around three high school kids from Seattle who seem to be leading normal lives. First we are introduced to Andrew (Dane DeHaan) who is the typical quiet kid who gets bullied on often, then there`s his cousin Matt (Alex Russell) who drives him to school sometimes, but really doesn't hang out with him a lot since Andrew is so quiet most of the time. Finally there`s Steve (Michael Jordan) who`s the jock and sort of the celebrity of the school. He`s actually a nice guy and dreams of becoming president someday. Matt convinces Andrew to come along with him to a party and during the party they encounter some strange object that has fallen deep into the ground. Steve, Matt, and Andrew decide to investigate by going down the hole and they finally find a sort of colored crystal rock. When they touch it, the crystal changes colors and blood begins running from their noses. The next day the kids discover that they have some sort of telekenitical ability and begin moving small objects with their mind. As they continue to experiment with their new found power they begin to grow stronger and find themselves moving bigger objects and even elevating themselves from the ground. The three grow really close to each other, and begin having fun with their ability by doing several pranks on people in a supermarket. The kids have a lot of fun at first, but soon they will discover that their ability can be dangerous as well if they don`t learn to control their emotions.
I think that the story is really well written and it does have an interesting and more realistic take on what would happen if a teenager stumbles upon a super power. The film does reflect on some of these issues, like how power can end up changing our lives if we don`t learn how to handle it correctly. It also deals with another common issue that has to do with bullying and how this can severely damage people`s emotions. I really enjoyed the take they had on this movie, but I wouldn't have gone as far as they did in the final act. I enjoyed the comedy of the first hour or so, but the last half hour was a bit of a stretch for me. Chronicle was filmed as if it were a documentary, a trend that began with The Blair Witch Project and has continued with other films like Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield. Chronicle actually feels at times like a J.J. Abrams film. This style of filmmaking may be distracting for some people, but I don't usually tend to have a problem with it. I do however think that this film, given its interesting story, would`ve been much better if filmed normally, without the handheld shaky camera going on, because it did have a really interesting premise. I don't want to sound too picky though because I did enjoy this movie quite a bit. I just think it could have had the potential to be a five star film, but it`s still a good watch.