Chronicle

Fours all around,

Here comes review #4: CHRONICLE

An undercover stunner, this Seattle based science fiction flick is presented almost entirely from a P.O.V. (point of view) perspective. I had no definitive expectations upon entering this film, and was pleasantly surprised due to this lack of schema.

The story follows three high school seniors who encounter an unexplained source of telekinetic power. While at a senior party, they venture into a sink hole and come into contact with a unique, radiative crystal formation that allows them to control nearby objects with their minds. They gradually learn to wield their new found power at an increasingly alarming rate. The plot steadily builds, and gives way to a crescendo of a climax that had me hoping for a sequel. This is the coolest movie I’ve seen so far, and I gave it four stars.

And here’s why:

1. Visual: One of the most interesting things about this film is not only the use of the P.O.V. technique to tell the story, but the deliberate transition from this device, to the use of multiple cameras during the climax. This transference is done so smoothly, that I didn’t even recognize it had happened until the final scene, at which point the action returns to a single perspective. Brilliantly executed, it drew me into the tense drama of the plot, and made the unbelievable actions of the characters seem like reality. Additionally, awe inspiring first person depictions of flying pushed the visual envelope, and made it impossible not to give this category a full star.

2. Audio: Over twenty songs went into the making of this film, and although none of them lasted more than a full minute, the range of music used was thorough and appropriate. Sound effects play a vital role in assisting the psychological impact that occurs as the scenes jump around from place to place. Highly proficient use of audio editing techniques and A.D.R. (Additional Dialogue Recording), add a concise clarity to the film, and produce a unique cohesion that yields another full star for audio.

3. Acting: The acting in this film is above par considering the production budget involved was a relatively low $12 million. Dane DeHaan, most recently in TRUE BLOOD, plays the main character Drew Detmer, who is a recluse that briefly finds friendship and popularity because of his extraordinary new skills. Matt Garetty (Alex Russel) is his cousin and only friend, who serves as confidant and guidance counselor as Drew’s powers increase. Steve Montgomery (Michael B. Jordan) is the most popular senior in school, and becomes the third leg of their adventurous tripod as the story progresses. The starring roles in this film are well cast, but many of the supporting characters lose their appeal due to their overall lack of experience in front of the lens. This chops the acting star in half.

4. Effects: From incredible first person flying scenes, to an ever increasing cathartic conclusion, the special effects were the best part about this movie. As the trio’s powers grow stronger, they learn to manipulate larger objects, maneuver through the air with precision, and end up in an amazing fight sequence that blew me away. The unique transition from one perspective to multiple cameras occurs when Drew begins controlling his personal camcorder with his mind, to achieve aerial angles. After the audience is given enough time to become used to this effect, the camera is free to do what it pleases and no explanation is given. Simply stunning effects earn this movie another well deserved star.

5. Story: The integrity of the plot is compromised in this film when the trio immaturely reacts to the supernatural powers they receive. Alex is a philosophy buff, and imposes guidelines upon his comrades, which are never followed. The natural tension the story would have had, is deflated by party scenes and cliche high school interactions that serve no overall purpose. The structure of the movie, however, is excellently presented, and the slower moments eventually compound to bring about an intense conclusion. The story retains one half of one star.

All in all this movie is a blast. It misses the point on a few occasions, but otherwise was thoroughly enjoyable. If you’re a fan of the science fiction genre, CLOVERFIELD style film perspective, or just want to know what it would feel like to be superman, I highly recommend seeing this film. A theatrical viewing would do the meager budget some justice, but even if you feel like waiting to watch it later, just know it deserves to be seen. My favorite part is the slow camera push during the hospital scene, try not to jump.

Once again, thanks to everyone who takes the time to check out this review blog! Coming up next is a thorough review of ACT OF VALOR, and I do mean thorough. I welcome readers to suggest films for the inevitable lull that will follow this weekend’s release

-Neal

IMDB Info available here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1706593/

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