{2jtab: Movie Review}

Chronicle - Movie Review


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4 stars

Found footage films have primarily been outpouring from the horror genre, since The Blair Witch Project showed the film biz they could make a pretty penny; some to great success, most to a weary sigh. When Chronicle promos started to pop up, it caught the attention of this reviewer quickly. First of all, because it wasn’t another horror film trying to rehash what has come before, secondly because the trailer just made it look compelling.

Following, primarily, a troubled young man (Dane DeHaan) in his senior year, Chronicle follows him and two of his friends as they discover some mysterious crystalline object deep in a hole in the ground. Soon after, they begin to discover new abilities: telekinetic abilities. At first it’s an exhilarating thing, but as their powers grow, and the young man’s troubled life implodes around him, his perception of the world and the people in it sours, and he manifests into something malevolent and destructive.

There are archetypal frameworks in this story from beginning to end. It is a fairly seamless blending of the superhero origin, the hero’s journey, and the old cautionary tale. Taken on story alone, this is not particularly something we haven’t seen before, and as far as surprises are concerned, Chronicle has few. But it is compelling, and easily immerses you in its world. It has taken those rather easy turns, narratively, to build on its other strengths, which it has in spades.

The element that works best in this movie is its cast. They are unknowns, and unfailingly believable with their respective characters. Because this film rarely diverges from something we haven’t seen a million times before, it is a testament to their performances that our attention is held so completely. The evolution of the three leads is believable, succinctly set up, and played out to a satisfying conclusion.

Another masterful element—and this is not usually the case in low budget films—is the effects. How many 200 million plus films throw stuff at you and leave you cold? Chronicle’s budget was 15 million, and what they accomplish with it, more often than not, serves the movie very well as it emotionally investing you in their journey. The effects are not flawless, but impressive nonetheless.

Another thing that impressed this reviewer was Josh Trank’s direction. So often in these found footage movies the conceit is lost through the filmic use of a camera. The choice of story and its setting allow Trank to vary his camera angles impressively without losing the conceit of his found footage framework. It’s very clever work.

Chronicle, judged on its elements is a bit, ‘hit and miss’: it’s a little simplistic with its morality and little too easy on itself with the narrative as a whole. But, dammit, it’s a good movie when all is said and done. The cast are terrific, the direction incredible—it defies its weaker points to be a completely memorable and worthy entry into this all too often dreary sub-genre. I would recommend it to anyone.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Chronicle - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense action and violence, thematic material, some language, sexual content and teen drinking.
: Josh Trank
: Max Landis
Dane DeHaan; Alex Russell; Michael B. Jordan; Michael Kelly; Ashley Hinshaw
Genre: sci-fi | Thriller
What are you capable of?
Memorable Movie Quote: "This is my theory though. That it's like a muscle."
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Official Site: www.facebook.com/Chronicle
Release Date: February 3, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 15, 2012

Synopsis: Three high school students make an incredible discovery, leading to them developing uncanny powers beyond their understanding. As they learn to control their abilities, and use them to their advantage, their lives start to spin out of control, and their darker sides begin to take over.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Chronicle - Movie Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

3 Stars

Blu-ray Experience
3.5 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - May 15, 2012
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); Digital copy (on disc); DVD copy; BD-Live

Considering this was supposed to have been filmed by a kid on a 500 dollar camera, the AVC 1080p encode looks pretty damn good. There are a few let downs with noise in the night scenes, but that’s either a deliberate choice by the filmmakers or a limitation of the production’s budget. Equally impressive, if one is to buy into the found footage conceit, is the DTS-HD 5.1 mix. Special features are lacklustre, to be kind.



  • None

Special Features:

  • Pre-Viz (8 min)
  • Camera Test (4 min)
  • Deleted Scene (1 min)

{2jtab: Trailer}