Chronicle

Josh Trank's Chronicle is not an easy film to assess. It succeeds on a couple of cinematic levels -- as well-crafted sci-fi / teen angst -- but it falls short on other more elusive levels, I think. It's the story of a trio of friends who find a mysterious glowing rock in a cavern in suburban Seattle and subsequently develop the ability to move objects through force of will. The boys (played winningly by Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordon) have fun videotaping (chronicling?) the exploration of their new powers. They bond and win some much needed affirmation for damaged young Andrew (DeHaan), who is brutalized by his drunken father even as his mother lies slowly dying in the family's living room. Trank's narrative is tight and fresh and the early super power sequences are clever and seamless. But, then, matters turn, jarringly dark. It's not so much that the outcome is unforeseen; it's telegraphed well and often from the beginning. It's more that it's unrelentingly, terribly grim. Chronicle is well made, no question, but it's so dark it's hard to see the point it's trying to make. I would NOT recommend taking young children to this film.

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