The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Chronicle | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Chronicle

Directed by: Josh Trank
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B Jordan

The found footage genre has sparked a curious phenomenon, that of Hollywood trying to make big budget movies look like amateur productions. It's similar to how white musicians repackaged black music in the sixties and the effect is the same, soulless.
There's a moment in this where a character refers to the camera as a "piece of shit from 2004" yet the movie is clearly shot on film. In fact, with so many Hollywood movies being shot digitally, this actually looks better than many modern studio productions. The sound editing also utilises techniques which contradict the found footage style, for instance in one scene a song is played without interruption yet there are several cuts within the scene. There's a reason "Paranormal Activity" looks like it was shot by a nobody on a cheap camera, it's because it was shot by a nobody on a cheap camera. Watching Hollywood film-makers try to ape this style is like listening to a rich white girl sing the blues.
Some movies get a poster they don't deserve, this had a trailer it didn't deserve (and again some of the trailer footage is absent from the film.) The trailer looked so slick that it barely suggested it was a found footage flick, and tellingly it used the only few good moments of special effects.
On several levels this feels like half a movie. It's like the origin story of a villain cut out of a superhero movie. The running time is almost TV episode short. Worst of all some of the FX work looks like it hasn't been fully rendered. In one ridiculously shoddy moment we see the reflection of the camera in a mirror but when the camera pans away it's reflection remains still. How little respect do you have for your audience to release a movie with simple errors like this? The greenscreen work would look below par in a SyFy original production. A scene in Tibet literally looks like the actor is standing in front of a projected slide.
To say the script defies logic is putting it mildly. When the protagonist's father looks through the footage on the camera he remarks that his son should stop "goofin around" or words to that effect. That would be fine if the camera didn't contain footage of his son flying through the clouds and moving vehicles with his mind. Our anti-hero also uses his telekinetic ability to pull off some outrageous magic tricks at his school talent show yet none of the teachers think to ask him how the hell he did any of it.
On paper the idea of a found footage version of "Carrie" sounds fun. On film it's anything but.