Sunday, 5 February 2012

I Watched This: Chronicle

I was strong-armed into getting a Cineworld unlimited card a couple months back. They was charging twelve quid to catch a flick during the weekend, so when an unlimited card was just six pounds extra, it didn't make sense not to- the catch being that I am now locked into monthly payments that are draining my accounts of the precious liquid gold that I spend my days getting abused by all and sundry to obtain.

Today, I watched Chronicle. I hadn't heard much of this film before, and when this happens, I assume the film is bad (the reasoning being that most films are previewed by movie critics who put the word out, and the ones that aren't released for reviews are those of such esteemed pedigree as Swept Away and Aeon Flux.). Then I watched the trailer, and the premise of teenagers doing what teenagers do when they suddenly find themselves in possession of superpowers seemed promising enough. And that scene in the trailer where the guy crumples up the car and later sweeps a couple of police cars in the air with a wave of his hands? Fucking cool. Subtract a few points though for using Jessie J's song Price Tag. 

The plot starts out like this. A troubled teenager, Andrew, gets a video camera and starts filming everything around him (which makes for the film's conceit that we are watching film footage as it is being shot). Then a strange thing happens to him and two other teenagers, and they find that they can now move objects (and more!) with just the power of their mind. 

The 'found footage' quality of the film, with the jerky cams and static, although annoying at first, draws you into the film. The makers of the film find creative but logical ways to stretch the powers that the teenagers have- the idea is that they have telekinesis, but they're also able to use that power to create force fields and other cool tricks (won't spoil it for you, even if the trailer already has). The special effects are used effectively- sparingly at first, and then going all-out in the finale. I got the impression initially that this was a low budget film (which at $15 million it is, relatively speaking) but by the end, you could have fooled me if you told me that the budget for it was four times as much. 

Suffice to say, Chronicle is a pretty awesome film. It's not perfect, and it's predictable- you know it's all going to end in tears from the outset- but it's a thrilling ride all the same. For my money, this is the  best action film I've watched this year- I rank it above Mission Impossible III, which despite ten times the budget, yielded about half the thrill.

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