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Posts Tagged ‘ Chronicle ’

Chronicle

The problem with Chronicle is Alex Russell. He plays Matt, Andrew the Apex Predator’s cousin and outer-circle friend to Steve Montgomery – school quarterback and all-round awesome human being.

This movie is dangerously close to a perfect storm. The story is fresh, authentic and expertly paced – with the slow build of power skilfully contrasted against the rising discord in Andrew’s home life and his deepening, and for him troubling, connection to Matt and Steve.

The powers themselves feel legitimate. They all seem to come from straight-telekinesis which, if you’ve learned anything (or if you’re me, everything) from comics and Steven Spielberg, is the most common extra-terrestrial power available. For once suspending disbelief doesn’t feel like a chore, it’s more like a treat.

The relationship between the trifecta could easily have been a lazy, hackneyed Dawson’s Creek montage – “this week the popular and just plain lovely quarterback, cool if a little lazy stoner and prickly outcast with a heart of liquid hot magma all get powers and have to learn to be excellent to each other …” – but instead Trank and Landis decided to go all out and actually create characters.

Yes Andrew has a thoroughly depressing and abusive home life, Matt is in love with the girl who doesn’t think he’s good enough, and Steve is just the best person in the world ever. Period.

But it’s what happens when these three intersect that really sets Chronicle apart. Instead of a by-the-numbers origin story we get to watch Andrew come out of his shell Despite the powers. It’s the influence of Steve and the support of Matt that allows him to overcome his crippling shyness.

Instead of Becoming his emotions (with great power comes great yadda yadda yadda…), his power becomes a way for him to Express his emotions. So when he’s on a high, out having fun with Matt and Steve, he’s playful and enthusiastic with his displays – like building a Lego replica of the Space Needle (also, foreshadowing – welcome back to cinema). But when he’s angry or upset he quickly becomes withdrawn and tacit, and displays his power more as a matter of course – such as when he waves the truck of an obnoxious tailgate off a bridge.

Despite his obvious position as the ‘Big Bad’ from the get go, Chronicle doesn’t try to write Andrew off. He’s obviously a raw and damaged person, but he still has aspirations. And he’s also not the Only character capable of being a dick – Matt displays some petty jealously when Andrew appears to get a handle on his powers quicker than the others.

Despite its hasty running time Chronicle manages to tell a better story than most two-hour monsters, and even gives us characters that actually Change throughout the course of it. My only problem, and it’s a Tiny one, is with Alex Russell when he tries to emote. He can’t cry, but he scrunches up his face anyway and puts on his emotion-voice and I wish he wouldn’t, because the most crucial part of any found-footage movie is the ‘genuine’ aspect.

But Chronicle feels genuine anyway, from start to finish, because of Andrew’s unashamedly emo rampage, Steve’s just plain nice-guyness, and the clever ways Trank uses the found-footage restriction to his advantage. Also the dancing bear. Just freaking inspired.

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