Release Date: Feb. 3, 2012
Running Time: 83 minutes
So much for accepting the great responsibility that comes with great power. The fast and flashy “found-footage”/superhero morality tale Chronicle takes the position that the gift of superpowers can be more of a curse than a blessing. An encounter with an object of unknown origin results in three high school students receiving great strength and the ability to fly and move objects telepathically. Working from a perceptive screenplay by Max Ladnis, the son of John Landis, director Josh Trank maintains a light hand at first as Chronicle details the frivolous but amusing antics that the three get up to as they test their powers. Unlike Peter Parker, these knuckleheads initially prefer to use their powers to either pull pranks on strangers or hook up with the ladies. Chronicle quickly takes a dark and disturbing turn when wallflower Dane DeHaan starts using his powers in anger against his alcoholic father and the school bully. Chronicle certainly deals with easily identifiable school archetypes—aside from DeHaan’s social misfit, there’s Michael B. Jordan’s beloved alpha male and Alex Russell’s deep thinker and sensitive soul. As Chronicle unfolds, they become much more than they seem to be, allowing Trank and Landis to keenly dissect three teenage minds coping with extraordinary stress. As villains are more psychologically intriguing than heroes, Chronicle naturally takes more of an interest in DeHaan’s inability to control his behavior than Jordan and Russell’s efforts to prevent him from harming himself and others. It all leads up to a confrontation that we have seen many times in superhero epics, only it is as deeply personal as the one between Professor X and Magneto at the end of X-Men: First Class. Trank doesn’t turn superhero conventions on their head--Unbreakable did this first—but he does give a fresh spin on the well-worn “found-footage” subgenre by virtue of Chronicle not being a horror film. There’s talk about Trank may direct the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot. Solely based on Chronicle, Trank could deliver the Fantastic Four Marvel fans have longed to see.
Aired: Feb. 2, 2013
Web site: https://www.facebook.com/Chronicle