Chronicle begins with no opening credits, and simply with Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan, below-right) setting up his video camera which he’ll take with him everywhere. It’s not 100% clear *why* he’s doing this, other than at the start when he begins the practice because of his abusive father, Richard (Michael Kelly). However, after some scene setting with cousin Matt Garetty (Alex Russell, below-left), he comes across school jock and wannabe President Steve Montgomery (Michael B. Jordan, below-centre), who leads him to a mysterious hole in the ground.
First, headstrong Steve goes down, soon joined by Matt. Andrew feels he has no other option than to join them. Once down there, there’s a strange… glowing thing. That’s the only way I can describe it.
Whatever it is, gives the trio the ability to start by moving small items about with the power of their mind, such as when Matt manipulates some Lego pieces in mid-air, causing Andrew to go one better by quickly setting up a version of the Seattle Space Needle. Small things lead to bigger, and Steve moves a woman’s car after she parks up to go to the shops. She comes back to find it in another space and one of them jokingly whispers, “For once, it *was* the black guy who did it!”
Their powers eventually get the better of them and, once the basics have been set up, and there’s also a lull of a few minutes where very little happens and you’re wondering if Chronicle will get back on track, it does do. And it gets satisfyingly darker in tone.
For a very short film, there are still those few minutes that could do with being chopped out, but on the plus side, it’s nice to have a movie with no famous faces in it, and to find that those we do have are doing a fine job. The brevity of the film, however, did leave me wondering what the point was of Ashley Hinshaw‘s character, as Casey, a girl Matt likes, who also roams around with a video camera, filming for her blog. In the final analysis, her character does seem rather redundant. There are also brief appearances from Bo Petersen as Andrew’s terminally ill mother, Karen, and Anna Wood as Monica, a girl with whom he has a brief encounter.
Overall, Chronicle is certainly a film worth seeing – and with those few dull minutes chopped out it would be an 8/10 instead of a 7 – but I don’t think it really demands to be seen in the cinema, especially given how it’s mostly shot on video cameras.
I will also add that it’s one of the few films made that actually aims for a satisfactory ending, too. In addition, if I hadn’t known beforehand that this one was a 12-certificate, I would have assumed it was a 15.
Running time: 84 minutes
Released: February 1st 2012
Directors: Josh Trank
Producers: John Davis and Adam Schroeder
Screenplay: Max Landis (from a story by Max Landis and Josh Trank)
Andrew Detmer: Dane DeHaan
Matt Garetty: Alex Russell
Steve Montgomery: Michael B. Jordan
Richard Detmer: Michael Kelly
Casey Letter: Ashley Hinshaw
Karen Detmer: Bo Petersen
Monica: Anna Wood
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.