|Andrew and his camera|
Dane DeHaan, Chronicle's lead
UA&P Humanities majors, I require you to catch this film. I could only imagine taking up Film Theory now, with Sir Vito Cruz as our professor and literally enjoying a 3 hour-long discussion of Chronicle with my classmates and writing a paper about it or whatever is required. Trust me, it's no Oscar-nominated film but it's that good to catch twice in a movie house and even purchase an original DVD of.
All it took me to pay good money for Chronicle was its trailer. Everything a trailer should be, Chronicle's accomplished. But then again, there's always that huge possibility that films make better trailers than actual films. Fortunately, Chronicle proved greater than its trailer.
In a few sentences, you have here a relatively "old" recipe of a skinny, reserved kid for a lead, a first-person point of view courtesy of a professional camera (thank God it wasn't as shaky as Cloverfield), high school for a setting, a discovery of something so ground-breaking it flies the plot up the sky (literally), teenagers with super powers and finally all the perspectives of the important players that a viewer needs to land on a sensible take on the movie.
Nothing new right, but that's until you get to sit through the film. My sister was smart enough to draw the equation that somehow, Chronicle reminded her of a cross between the 1976 Carrie to the Japanese Anime spectacle that is Akira. But of course you'll have to watch the film first to know why the equation somehow fits. But for me, what's pretty much fresh about Chronicle is that, based on the things I've seen since I learned of movies is that, this one is a little difficult to box as a genre.
For me it's not as important as the movie itself, but having a clear-cut genre for the film makes it easier for viewers to digest or to set expectations before seeing the film. I'm thinking this one could be a mix of sci-fi, coming-of-age (if this is ever an acceptable film genre) type of film that handsomely adds a layer of style with the use of the "make-believe" documentary approach.
What's also refreshing is the story and since I can only speak for myself, Chronicle not only does a splendid job at blurring the titles at the genre department for me, but it does so well when it comes to plot and how characters (most especially this one) in any story could definitely take equal amounts of air-time and to some extent, depth, when I am usually used to watching one character hog all the attention. It's that smart of a film, that even until the end of it, you're expecting that the story and layers to the characters will keep unfolding, much like Inception or Zodiac or even Life As We Know It. Some films, just die for me once the end credits start rolling, but not for these ones I've mentioned.
And of course, being all touchy-feely as I am trained to be and [proudly] have grown into, at the heart of this is the human need for acceptance. While watching the film, I couldn't help but tell myself that, like Andrew (the lead), that kid in high school who always kept to himself never really deserved any of the bullying and gossiping and--even worse, all the cold shoulders thrown at him. Of course we were all young and that when kids don't blend in well, it's natural for some of us (I'm pretty guilty here too) to make fun of them or buzz about their secret lives, as if we could measure them by what the senses could sum up.
Andrew was weird and never popular and even though he had never asked for it, all he really wanted was to be appreciated. At the long stretch of the film, when Andrew's already done too much , it comes down to realizing that had things been different for him and if only he'd been accepted by at least someone and he immediately knew it, it wouldn't have ended the way it did. Then again, what is life without the friction and the struggle?
If you're like me who take things in both light and heavy strides, you'd actually start to realize how ironic it is that while Chronicle's characters have super human strength, they still feel the need to belong. Right? Why seek acceptance and affirmation from the coolest kids in town when you could fly and play football up in the clouds? That's a billion times cooler than eating at the cool kids' table. Ah, human nature. Weird and difficult to grasp at its best.
Go watch Chronicle, cause it touches so many issues you'd love to talk about: from cinematography, to how much of a revelation Dane DaHaan, Alex Russell and Josh Trank are, to how Michael B. Jordan looks like Nick Cannon, to how superhuman powers on film or in literature serve as keys to being accepted in a pretty human setting (thesis levels guys) to just how cool it'd be to actually have powers... It's interesting, it's fresh, it's deep and it drives a point about acceptance and how all this cheesy human stuff, is far from being cheesy after all.
There is another thing though that I ought to reconcile about this film...And it has to do with that discovery of the characters, that big figurative kick in the plot that gave this film's story the superpowers it holds. Sadly I can't write it here now cause it'll definitely spoil the whole thing.