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Monday, June 25, 2012

Chronicle - Review (2012)

Three high school students venture into a cave and come out with new super abilities. Delivered in the increasingly overused found-footage format this film could have been just been another gimmick film with little to say.  It was a nice surprise to find out is also a parable about power told through three average guys that suddenly are anything but average.  It raises questions about our responsibility to others once the power is in our hands.

What makes this film work is this is not superhero film, a genre which is often restricted by its own self-imposed constraints - no costumes, no nicknames or secret identities.  Instead we get a film grounded in reality.  We are voyeurs watching the changes in their lives as they explore their new found powers, bond as friends and try to cope with their not so picture-perfect everyday lives - kind of like a supernatural version on "Stand By Me." 

I have mixed feeling about the use of the found-footage approach to the film.  I am actually a fan of the genre, if done right.  With this film though, I did find some of the unfeasible work-arounds to the genre's restrictions to be slightly distracting; especially the fluid camera movements (a rarity in found-footage films.)

The last quarter of the film had trouble wrapping up the story that preceded it - relying too much on CGI and action to create larger scale scenes when the smaller, simpler scenes were more effective.  Even so, overall the film works.  The first-time director, Josh Trank, helms a film that is quite refreshing in its inventiveness.  7.5 out of 10

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