In light of recently watching the 2013 remake of Stephen King's Carrie, and talking about how much better Chronicle is with a similar story in my review, I decided to put my money where my mouth is. Here is my review of Chronicle!
Chronicle (2012) Three high school friends obtain telekinetic super powers when they make a discovery at a party. However, their lives are thrown into chaos as a result and their bonds as friends are tested as they embrace their darker sides.
I'm going to try to avoid talking about Carrie constantly even though it is the reason that I am reviewing this and keep it its own thing. So I really enjoyed this movie. Let's jump into why shall we? First of all, it is an indie movie. So they had a rather small budget. So what they created does look exceptional when you take this into consideration. However after watching Gravity the superpower sequences look so dated. Or at least not as real. As I said this is entirely thanks to the marvel that is Gravity, (I hope you have seen it by this point!!!!) but even still, it was not as impressive visually as I remembered. I know that I just started out my review for a movie I like with a complaint but that's because I'm about to lather this movie with praise.
Ok so visuals don't work that well initially. Check. Ok here's where the movie works: the acting, story, and editing are all outstanding. Now I could just stop there but obviously I'm not going to. So acting. The actors here were all relatively unknown at the time, with the notable exception of Michael Kelly as our main protagonist's drunken father. Kelly is an actor that is grossly underused in Hollywood honestly. I've seen a lot of his work by this point (most known for The Adjustment Bureau, House of Cards, and Changeling) and have loved him in everything I've seen. He is given a potentially generic character in the drunken father and does a great job (in part thanks to some great writing) and really fleshes him out. But the man who steals the show here without a doubt is the main protagonist, Dane DeHaan as Andrew. This movie as almost worth watching to see the performance that has single-handily shot DeHaan's career into stardom. And I can't wait to see him as Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, just to have a Spider-Man fanboy moment. But the role he plays is an incredibly difficult one to sell. But he nailed it. He makes you feel for and understand the torment of his life and why he ends up doing what he does.
The great storytelling helps here as well obviously. Max Landis makes his debut here into full-length feature storytelling, and he does it with great confidence. All three of the friends feel like they are fleshed out, as well as Andrew's father, despite his limited screen time. And the portrayal of Andrew's fall pulls on your heart strings. In a movie with a lesser story you would hate Andrew for doing what he ultimately does. But not here. Here you feel absolute sorrow for him, all the way until the end of the movie. Which is not a happy ending by the way, but I think it is the perfect ending for this movie. For those of you hoping for a superhero type story here you will be disappointed, because Landis goes the route of having the powers take a backstreet. Yes a large part of the movie is about them better learning their newfound powers but these sequences really exist to build a believable bond between the three friends, and thus further engages us into their story.
So the editing. For some reason (and my other major complaint) is that this movie is shot in first person. Remember our talk about Cloverfield? They got first person right. Chronicle however, did not. But the editing to maintain the first person aspect is phenomenal. Even distracting at points, particularly in the final set piece of the movie. My rule with first person has always been that if you could make a better movie in third person, avoid using first person. With Cloverfield I can't even begin to imagine it in third person but here I thought the movie could've been told so much better had it not been in first. But again, the editing to keep the movie in first was fantastic. This small part of the movie is definitely one of its best aspects.
So, as I said, this movie really hits on the bullying theme and the theme of bending someone until they break. They do it quite effectively, though not as similar as I initially thought to Carrie. No doubt though this movie was at least partially inspired by the 70s version of the movie. Which I did watch after watching the new Carrie, but I'm not going to review it because the two are so freaking similar. Just see my first review, add half a point because some of the other students get fleshed out a bit better, and Carrie's mom is a bit more and you have my final score for the original Carrie. And how this relates back to Chronicle is that Chronicle is a lot better than Carrie in my opinion, so if you want to watch a bully detergent movie, start here then go to Carrie. That statement still holds true after watching this movie again. Yay! Being right!
The Critique: a serious and dark science-fiction movie with some great acting and storytelling.
The Recommendation: like I said before, a bully-detergent movie. Additionally, consider watching if you are in high school or college. This is a great reflection piece for what the high school atmosphere was like. (Unfortunately)
Rewatchability: Moderately High
The Verdict: 8.5/10 Pretty Awesome
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