Brian’s Review – “Chronicle” (2012)



What’s it About?

Three high school students come across a mysterious object in an underground cave in the woods. Soon after the strange discovery, they each develop telekinetic abilities.


5 out of 10

By Brian

This film is hampered by two things.  The first is that it goes with the Blair Witch pseudo-documentary style where all of the camera shots are filmed by the characters themselves.  The other problem is its all too brief running time.  At a mere 89 minutes it rushed too quickly to a conclusion without really explaining its characters’ progression or answering any of the questions that were posed.  Oh, but of course it took the time to leave open a sequel. Well, since we only get a little over half a movie they could have tacked the 2nd flick to this one and made a more complete picture.

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I’ll start with my criticism of the documentary style.  This has become way too overdone with films like Cloverfield, Blair Witch, and others.  It’s really distracting when the story has to constantly stop and have characters annoyed that they’re being recorded, explain how the camera is shooting from its particular angle, or force the situation of finding a way to show how a particular scene is even being recorded in the first place.  The worst offense is near the end during the big confrontation where the antagonist takes the time in the middle of a conversation to telepathically grab a bunch of digital cameras and start shooting 360 degrees to finally give the director the freedom to show the viewer multiple angles.  I understand that the gimmick gives the impression that it has an inherent sense of reality but with a film like this that is littered with obvious CGI special effects, it detracts more than it adds.  If this movie had been shot in a standard style it would have opened up visually to tell a more engaging story.

That brings us to the 2nd problem: the running time.  The first half of this film is solid.  The sense of mystery is palpable and I was genuinely interested to see why and how it happened that these young men were blessed with these extraordinary powers.  The characters are presented as realistically acting teenagers.  They each have their own challenges that include a mother dying of cancer, an alcoholic abusive father, and another with parents that are divorcing.  It helped to explain how the three characters needed each other at a time when their home lives weren’t strong.  But, because this film is over in the blink of an eye, all of that setup is utterly wasted.  We never find out any of the answers that the film leaves open, the relationships between the main characters dissolve way too quickly, and the ending is abrupt without giving a full understanding of what really happened.  There was a good movie in the middle of all this but too many bad decisions early in the writing process doomed it to mediocrity.


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