For the first film to see in 2012 I decided to check out Chronicle. I hadn’t seen any previews and only became interested in it due to its quick success and large collection of positive reviews.
Just before I got to the theater I read a couple things about it and realized this was going to be another one of those first-person movies where the main character shoots everything on video and we watch in a sort of documentary/videolog style. That cut into my confidence level as many such films are simply terrible.
The first few scenes didn’t help the concern as everything looked very low budget and felt awkward. Here the dialog felt forced in several spots and the film struggled at times to explain the constant reliance on the camera (not by just one character but by two) but then it started to improve dramatically.
After the initial stutters it entirely won me over through the next two-thirds of the film. I was riveted to the story and the approach. I started feeling as if the producers had managed the incredible task of taking a potentially ridiculous story line and really getting us to buy into it and to connect with the characters to the point of complete suspension of disbelief.
Then the trouble begins. There’s a single event at a party where things go from completely fine to utter mayhem.
The main plot involves three friends who discover a sinkhole that they explore and then, not long after emerging, begin to realize they have supernatural abilities that they can hone and grow. The real gem of the story is in how they go about dealing with it all but sadly that wonderfully engaging experience then comes crashing down (like everything else in the movie) in the final third.
The characters, upon finding such abilities, completely ignore the most obvious uses for these new-found traits. For example, they need money but instead of heading to Vegas they take much more complicated and risky paths.
The main character, Andrew (played by Dane DeHaan who reminds me of a younger Leonardo Di Caprio), suddenly starts acting crazy and before you know it we’ve got nothing but a lot of explosions, blood, violence and a complete loss of focus and magic. The degree of explosions cannot be overstated. From the moment they begin they’re nearly constant for the rest of the film.
Not only was I entirely let down by this but the audience of mainly teens and 20-something’s also seemed to disconnect at the same time. The film never recovers and I’m left to feel cheated by the experience. What felt like it was going to be an entirely memorable affair instead simply turned into a poor man’s Incredible Hulk.