Friday, May 11, 2012

3 Short Paragraphs: Chronicle

2012, Josh Trank -- download

Shaky cam movies lend themselves to my lesser attention span of late. In my transition from "see every movie in the cinemas" over the past 10 years to "rent many DVDs" to "download just about every movie I watch", I have noticed a lessening of the thorough immersion I once enjoyed.  Gone are the days where the lights were turned out, the phone was muted and we just ... watched.  Now, laptops are in laps, kittens are bounding and ... well, usually chores are being performed.  I rarely watch a movie completely through without a half dozen pauses.  That extracts me enough from the experience that these "reviews" can be sometimes difficult as I am not as invested.  It takes a lot for me to become so.  And then there are movies where it just doesn't matter. Shaky, faux documentary flicks, like Chronicle, have an element of mundanity attached to them, in order to impart a sense of "this is real cam work" normally by an amateur.  No editing, no cutting room floor.  So little things are left in that do not contribute so much to the world and the story, as much as they do add to the technique.  Thus, last night, pauses and kittens.

Chronicle is just that, a chronicle of a damaged kid's life through the eyes of a couple of different video cameras.  It's not "found footage" as there were a number of different cams used, including what could have only come from cell cams, dashboard cams and a few news choppers. And then there were a few scenes where he must of just said, fuck it, pretend there would be a camera there for whatever reason. But for the most part we get a story told via the floating eye of a digital camera.  P.S. This also lends itself to being pirated from the Interwebs, as you cannot really tell if you got a crappy copy or this was intended. The technique is effective as it leaves gaps where you would expect and provides a sense of reality in a story that is very superhero or anime in its plot.  Other than the magic cams, cameras where none would have been, I was OK with the indulgence.

The story is pretty much an origin story of kids getting super powers. No investigation of background, no research as to why it focuses entirely on how it affects the highschoolers.  And the newfound power doesn't really do right by them, which is not helped at all by the fact they are all dicks -- perhaps better to say they do not do right by it?  These kids are the epitome of today's internet generation, the self-absorbed arrogant commenters on YouTube, the kind that don't consider the consequences of their actions and, as previously mentioned, the kids just plain damaged by their lives. And as Spiderman says, "with great power comes great responsibility", responsibility they all toss to the wind, the wind rushing by their faces as they fly, fly like Superman.  But I would hazard that is the point that Landis (screenwriter/story) had -- not everyone given superpowers would go one way or the other, super hero or villain.  Most would just play with them irresponsibility.  And if one happened to be weaker than most, one might just go all Akira on the world.  Even the kid who begins to see where they are being led only has a tenuous connection to the responsibility, more interested in the image of being responsible, sort of like the whole Kony / Invisible Children thingy.