This review first appeared in the Sunday Star Times, 6th February 2012
Imagine you are a fairly geeky, high school loner, living with your terminally ill mother and abusive father. You don’t have many friends or date girls, but you wield a video camera that records every aspect of your unassuming life. Now what plot device could possibly improve your fortunes?
In a hurried, undercooked piece of action, Andrew (Dane DeHaan, channelling a callow Leonardo DiCaprio ) and two mates stumble upon a mysterious subterranean relic that promptly gives them special powers. (Why? How? Don’t ask silly questions.) The boys then spend many an afternoon honing their burgeoning telekinetic prowess.
Though enjoyable from start to finish, Chronicle is a mildly frustrating watch. On the one hand a well-conceived exercise in teen wish-fulfilment, it also rolls out every cliche in the book, leaves questions unanswered (Why doesn’t the Government get involved? How could three teenagers keep something this big a secret?) and fails to explore the potential of a gift so potent.
What perhaps saves the film from B-grade oblivion are sound performances from its leads, the Cloverfield style and some spectacular displays of how any of us might use such control, were we given the chance.