Monday, 6 February 2012

Film Review: "Chronicle" (2012).

"Not all heroes are super." Which is what Chronicle brings to the genre. This found footage superhero science fiction thriller film directed by Josh Trank in his directorial debut, and written by Max Landis based on a story by both. It follows three Seattle high school seniors, bullied Andrew, his cousin Matt and more popular Steve, who form a bond after gaining telekinetic powers from an unknown object. They first use their abilities for mischief and personal gain until Andrew turns to darker purposes. The film is visually presented as found footage filmed from the perspective of various video recording devices. It primarily uses Andrew's hand-held camcorder to document the events of his life.

The film is written by Fear Itself writer Max Landis, from a story by him and Trank. Trank cited the films Akira (1988), Carrie (1976) and The Fury (1978) as influences on the film. The screenplay was featured in the 2010 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year. On a budget of $12 million, the film was shot primarily in Cape Town, South Africa with Film Afrika Worldwide, as well in Vancouver, Canada. Filming started in May 2011 and continued for eighteen weeks, ending in August 2011. Because the production took place mostly in South Africa, American vehicles had to be shipped in for the production for the film's climatic fight scene.  he film used the Arri Alexa video camera and and Angenieux Optimo and Cook s4 lenses to shoot the movie. Post Production techniques were used to give it a "found footage" look. To simulate Andrew's telekinetic camera angles, a cable cam rig was built to create the illusion of his camera levitating 120 feet into the air. The Arri Alexa camera was mounted on a skateboard to simulate Andrew's camera sliding across a floor. Stuntmen were suspended from crane wire rigs for flying scenes, with green screen special effects used for closeups of the actors.

The film stars Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan. The trio gave fine performances and each brought their unique flavours to the story. And each had their own emotional depth and bought realism to characters that would be normally one-dimensional of this genre. You also genuinely felt that these three are friends their chemistry was top-notch. Trank made DeHaan, Jordan, and Russell live in a house together for 15 days in order to create a genuine bond between the three.

A sort of Blair Witch Project crossed with superheroes, Chronicle is economically paced, stylistically clever, and filled with excitement. It is the most intense and original superhero feature I've seen in my moviegoing life, a pure-blood, grade A, exhilarating superhero movie. Trank's direction is whip-smart and stylistically invisible. This film presents the nearly subconscious evocation of our current paranoid, terror-phobic times. The key to the film's success is that telling the story through the lens of one character's camera and it works fantastically well. Surreptitiously subversive, a stylistically clever little gem. All in all, it is an effective film, deploying its special effects well and never breaking the illusion that it is all happening as we see it. It is an old-fashioned superhero movie dressed up in trendy new threads, with seamless special effects and a nihilistic attitude.

Simon says Chronicle receives:

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