This extraordinarily popular movie filmed on a relatively small budget shows that a strong script, good acting and a story that resonates can open the doors to all sorts of films that may never have had a chance …the “Night of the Living Dead” routine, which this film reminds me of on so many levels. Where George A. Romero’s 1968 horror masterpiece was bleak and lacking in hope, this film splashes color and hopeful possibilities to explore, all shrouded by the darker side of human emotion. It’s an enthralling trip which entertains, brings drama, and makes you think.
Co-writer and film director Josh Trank turned 28 years of age on February 19, 2012, 16 days after his film was put into general release, and he should be over the top with the film’s reception. On a budget of 12 million this motion picture has brought in almost 64 million in 11 days worldwide (according to Boxofficemojo.com)…a stunning achievement for a sleeper that went under my radar until my screening by chance on Saturday night (2/11/12).
Duncan Jones visionary Source Code which – thanks Boxofficemojo.com for the info – brought in over 147 million worldwide on a budget of approx. 32 million between April 1 and July 15 of 2011, a run of about 15 weeks. Similarly the 1 million dollar budget of The Devil Inside is over 60 mill worldwide…just more evidence that the audience is building at mainstream theaters for movies that don’t cost $150,000.000 to make. Of course this writer IS looking forward to the Avengers movie on the big screen come May, and – yes – the splashy collection of superheroes will be appealing, no doubt, and entertain. But Chronicle is a true textbook for aspiring filmmakers to give the steak with the sizzle, promote as diligently as Blair Witch Project but not be the disappointment that Blair Witch ultimately was to those of us who care about real filmmaking.
A relatively unknown cast delivers its lines, generates pathos, gives the audience twists and turns, clever avenues that take the original premise of Super 8 to another level. In fact, my review of Super 8 pointed out how that film came oh so close to being an instant classic. It misfired during the sloppily convenient ending. The ending here is satisfying leaving the door open for more
24 year old Dane DeHaan’s character, Andrew Detmer, slightly resembles the psychotic Justin Pendleton (Michael Pitt) in 2002’s Murder By Numbers. Soap opera actor Michael B. Jordan (also 24) as Steve Montgomery and Alex Russell as Matt Garetty (slightly resembling Chris Evans (Captain America, Johnny Storm) in the profile shots as his cousin, Andy Detmer, films him non-stop. As pretty much stated, this picks up where the documentary-as-protagonist Blair Witch Project and Super 8 left off. and…had the best elements of Super 8 fused with Chronicle you could have possibly witnessed the next Star Wars franchise.
I don’t say that lightly…Duncan Jones aforementioned Source Code also brought in great elements of past Sci-Fi achievements that only a sequel can – if done right – expand upon. The audiences want that next great trilogy or six pack. That Harry Potter specifically for adults. These young filmmakers need to go to the strength that they found here without getting too cute and jumping too far ahead of themselves. The nod to the original Invaders from Mars did not go unnoticed and that’s what gave this atmospheric mind trip the authenticity that it not only needed, but what got the ball rolling for the logical action that followed.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He was a film critic for Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com and produces and hosts Visual Radio. Visual Radio is a fifteen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed John Lennon’s Uncle Charlie, Margaret Cho, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere, Marty Balin, Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.