Thursday, 9 February 2012

Chronicle, dir. Josh Trank, scr. Max Landis, st. Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan, Alex Russell, Michael Kelly

So what does Chronicle bring to the superheroic table? Not the idea that power becomes unstable under the instability of its wielders - hardly a new trope of the genre. Instead of sexing-up a well-trod path, Trank's film is a sobering, rather bleak view of teen isolation and social acceptance. After discovering something neon and ultrasonic in an abandoned sink-hole, Andrew (DeHaan), his cousin Matt (Russell) and Steve (Jordan) wake to find themselves with extraordinary ESP abilities. Predictably, jocund experimentation turns sour when the troubled Andrew, fuelled by despondency at his Mother's terminal illness and subsequent paternal abuse, seeks refuge in his newfound powers. The near-exhausted Found Footage delivery system of Chronicle, here gets something of a facelift, as not only can Andrew manipulate his documenting camera at will (eg. free floating and vom-free crane and steadicam shots) but also the idea of digitally charting one's life in a social networking age has a particularly strong resonance. It's also slyly realistic, from the grey mistiness of a supermarket car-park to the dark griminess of Andrew's house, Chronicle is light-years away from the vibrancy and high-contrast world of traditional Hollywood superhero fare. A low-key and surprisingly effective slice of indie sic-fi.