When a high school loser gains superpowers through an encounter with a mysterious crystalline structure, will it help him become happy, popular and successful or will it amplify his dark side and give his anger an outlet so he can lash out against his hurtful world, gradually increasing in power until nothing can stop him and he goes on a rampage? That’s the concept behind Chronicle, but the film ends up an all-too-predictable formula film built around “found footage” cinematography and a series of completely inexplicable relationships.
Starting with the surprise success of The Blair Witch Project, the cinematic style of found footage has run its course, yet we’re still seeing films exploiting it for a cinema vérité effect. It was tired when we saw it in Apollo 18 last year, and it’s even more tired in Chronicle. Used sparingly — as it was brilliantly used in 127 Hours — it can be very effective. Perhaps I should cut freshman director Josh Trank some slack in his first cinematic outing, but less awkward framing, fewer creepy cut-outs and scratchy audio would have been a welcome improvement to the movie.