Three teenage boys come across an alien artefact and gain mysterious powers. Sounds like a million superhero movies we’ve seen, right? Not this time.
“Chronicle” is a clever look at what might actually happen if something like that occurred. Do our heroes turn into heroes? Do they turn into villains? Well, initially at least, they go from being silly teenagers to silly teenagers with some cool powers. It takes maturity to do something with what you’ve got, and they’re children. They’re not mature, so they don’t turn into the Power Rangers, they do dumb, childish things.
What happens to the protagonists can be predicted by what kind of people they are. We have the popular boy, well-adjusted with a happy home and school life. We have the boy who likes to read philosophy. He has a vague grasp of the concept that with great power comes great responsibility, though he is not really sure how to implement this. Then we have the victim of abuse and bullying. The outcome of all this is like a train wreck waiting to happen.
I think this film is not about super powers as much as it is about young people and how things affect them. I found it tragic, and very real. The three main actors were convincing in their roles, and the low budget did not detract from the story. It could technically be considered a found footage film, however there is little of the distracting shaky camera work, and a meaningful reason for the use of the camera. The main character is asked about the camera putting a barrier between him and others. This is exactly what he wants, to take this step back from a world that does nothing but hurt him. My only gripe about the movie is that there were aspects of the climax that became cliché.
I found “Chronicle” to be compelling viewing. I would highly recommend it.