If history has taught us anything, it’s that time and time again it all comes back to the same old adage. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely. A bold mix of “The Craft” and “Akira,” director Josh Trank completely embodies such a notion with “Chronicle” a film that demonstrates what occurs when sentient power is put in the hands of three people with major chips on their shoulders and a god complex. “Chronicle” is in essence a superhero movie without a comic book source, but deep down it’s a brilliant examination of what could happen if real amazing power were to belong to average human beings with their own vendettas and selfish goals. No matter how good a person, deep down we all know it would become incredibly disastrous and absolutely and chaotic.
For Andrew, Matt, and Steve everything changes on the night during a massive rave when they go exploring in the woods and discover a sink hole. The sink hole, as they find with much awe, leads in to a pit where an incredible artifact lies, dormant and throbbing with immense power and light. After an undocumented period of time we learn that the trio of comrades have been granted amazing abilities that only grow more and more as the days pass, and their mental link begins to grow stronger as they bond as super powered beings. Director Trank and Writer Max Landis thankfully use much of the film to discover what it would be like if a normal teenager were granted such immense abilities, and much of what occurs is often comedic but with an undertone of cruelty to it. The reality is if such power belonged to a normal being, this is what could possibly happen, and soon what transforms from minor mental capabilities will morph in to a being who is not only thirsty for power but who will develop the mindset that they’re meant for great things.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions and it’s never so true as the journey the three teenagers go on in their quest to identify their limits and find out how far the bar can be raised with their abilities. With a small budget, director Trank is able to achieve some amazing scenes that show us how truly incredible their powers soon become. Floating baseballs transforms in to a coasting through the clouds like birds. And tormenting little children with animated stuffed animals soon becomes controlling the elements to thwart rivals and enemies. There are moments of sheer incredible feats presented that will make the audience drunk with sheer excitement and soon it takes a turn to darkness when main character Andrew begins to develop the idea that he is a superior being and sets out to settle his own life’s ordeals through his fantastic powers.
We witness the birth of not only true evil, but unflinching good, and in the process we see what happens when ultimate power is bestowed upon a mere mortal. Thankfully much of the plot elements are left ambiguous. We’re never truly told what the being in the sink hole is, why it’s there, and what it’s meant to do, and we’re never sure how far or how long these men will have their abilities. All we know is that it slowly consumes them from the inside out and eventually turns them against one another. The climax is action packed and incredibly violent but tragic in its own right, showing us what happens when rage is unleashed and “Chronicle” ends on a note that is complete but open to new stories. I hope we can see more chapters in this grasp for true power. Director Josh Trank and Writer Max Landis compose a truly incredible and remarkable quasi found footage film that displays true power and what happens when it falls in the hands of individuals who have no idea how to wield it. It’s truly about as realistic a look at super beings as has ever been made and I hope there are more stories to be told from this concept.