Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
Click poster to enlarge
More posters to select

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Michael B. Jordan
Michael Kelly
Alex Russell.
Directors
Josh Trank.
Screenwriters
Max Landis.
Running Time
83 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Island Of Lemurs: Madagascar
3 Star Empire Rating
Life Of Crime
3 Star Empire Rating
Internet's Own Boy: The Story Of Aaron Swartz, The
4 Star Empire Rating
A Walk Among The Tombstones
4 Star Empire Rating
Wish I Was Here
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Chronicle
Superman: The home-movie


submit to reddit


Plot
Three teenage friends go down a hole in the woods and emerge with telekinetic capabilities. As their great powers grow, though, so does their sense of irresponsibility...


Review
Chronicle
Browse more images »
Greenlighting a movie is a perilous business at the best of times. But there can surely be no more of a safe slam dunk in Hollywood than when two unknown but exuberant movie brats, one of them the son of the director of An American Werewolf In London, disrupt your morning San Pellegrino with a script that promises Blair Witch meets Carrie, as told by three teen characters that would make John Hughes blush. And then ask you for just $15 million to deliver it. Nobody knows anything, of course, but sometimes… Well, sometimes you don’t have to be Harvey Weinstein. Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time.

Early on in its running time, Chronicle’s three unknown leads find themselves in a place that may either prove to be very right or very wrong, at an equally debatable time, when they discover some sort of Kryptonite-thing at the bottom of a big hole in the woods. The script, written by Max Landis, based on a concept by first-time feature director Josh Trank, injects some genuine, real-teen realities, as the three friends discover this close encounter has given them early-stage telekinesis. The condition has them first lark about, playing a sort of brain-based baseball, then cause all manner of hi-jinks on a visit to a shopping centre. Later, they start to stretch their skills — “It’s like a muscle,” says one, “we just have to learn to use it” — learning to fly, fight and, this being a teen movie based in approximate movie-truth, get laid.

To this point Chronicle is an immensely enjoyable superhero sci-fi, Sundance-cool yet shot with a studio sheen. It even makes a sincere effort to avoid the POV pitfall that has derailed so many found-footage movies since Burkittsville, its key documentarian, Dane (Detmer, channelling Basketball Diaries DiCaprio), learning to pilot his camcorder with his mind, thereby finding a neat (if not always successful) excuse why some shots can only have been achieved by a fourth party.

But then, after one of the trio abuses his powers in manipulating a car accident, causing a rift in the already fractious friendship, the movie accelerates astronomically, building and building and building again, to a climax so spectacular it borderline demands a standing ovation. In a world where trailers routinely give away the whole package in under three minutes, here is that rare thing: a movie that makes its promise and then over-delivers on it in a way that genuinely takes your breath away.

Make no mistake, Chronicle is by no means perfect. Primarily because, regardless of how decently rounded they are, its characters are possessed of a morality that stretches credulity. Three red-blooded teenage boys have gifted powers that could grant them unlimited girls, money and fame, and yet it takes them until act three to figure out that they might want to abuse them? It’s a nice thought, but one that wouldn’t have sat right 60 years ago, much less in the cynical I-want-it-nowness of the YouTube generation.

Still, you will be hard pushed to find a more essential leftfield movie experience this year. A true rarity, it manages to feel at once familiar — its ’80s sensibilities will strike chords with fans of Akira; and for telekenisis aficionados, there’s an on-stage sequence that riffs Carrie — and brand-spanking-new.

Crucial, too, is that this is a rough-edged first-time production that has — believe it or not — been put through the studio machine and emerged the better for it. In striving for a PG-13 rating, many of the original screenplay’s gruesome excesses have been toned down smartly. The gorehounds may bemoan it, but in another incarnation Chronicle could have been an exploding head away from another descendant of Scanners. Instead it is fresh and accessible, exciting and memorable, and marks out director Trank, who here executes two quite astonishing set-pieces, as a man with the power to do very great things. Little wonder Fox is considering him as a possible future for their Fantastic Four franchise. Here’s hoping.


Verdict
A stunning superhero/sci-fi that has appeared out of nowhere to demand your immediate attention.


Reviewed by Mark Dinning

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Chronicle
Empire Star Rating

RE: RE:

Yeah it was it wasn't perfect but it was a solid effort for a first timer with a low budget. And Akira spring to mind as well. Andrew's hospital garb was almost exactly the same as Tetsuo's at the end of the film. Plus the editing is well worth noting, there's some clever cutting that hides some of the weaker effects and adds shock value to the violence. ... More

Posted by BigKovacs at 21:52, 16 July 2013 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Saw this recently, I thought the effects were going to let it down but the blow out at the end was brilliantly done for the budget. Any film that gives me an unsettling feeling in my stomach is a winner in my book. Good script, well acted. ... More

Posted by StaceyB at 11:48, 12 July 2013 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: MuckyMuckMan Watched this for the first time last night and really enjoyed it but my main gripe would be that it really didn't need the hand held camera POV. Cloverfield and Rec did it far better. It was totally unnecessary in this film particularly in the hospital scene at the end (why would the doctors put a camera pointing towards him in his hospital bed when there is cctv all over in the hospital?). All in all though, I enjoyed it, especially the end sequence. had just been on... More

Posted by Dannybohy at 16:27, 11 July 2013 | Report This Post


RE:

Watched this for the first time last night and really enjoyed it but my main gripe would be that it really didn't need the hand held camera POV. Cloverfield and Rec did it far better. It was totally unnecessary in this film particularly in the hospital scene at the end (why would the doctors put a camera pointing towards him in his hospital bed when there is cctv all over in the hospital?). All in all though, I enjoyed it, especially the end sequence. ... More

Posted by MuckyMuckMan at 10:00, 08 July 2013 | Report This Post


Best found footage movie there has been... really original, incredibly entertaining, very smart - a hidden gem! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by philshepp at 22:10, 03 February 2013 | Report This Post


Chronicle

A smart script, stunning set pieces, and outstanding performances by it's young cast makes Chronicle one of those rare found footage films that surpasses its limitation of being found footage, as well as it's cheap effects and difficult premise. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by norgizfox at 19:43, 13 October 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Chronicle

Loved it. Great effects for the budget and a believable reaction from young men to gaining super powers. My only gripe would be the cheats on the POV, going from found-footage to people having a camera at crucial times. ... More

Posted by Lazarus munkey at 09:39, 10 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Chronicle

This was ok but not great. I have trouble feeling empathy for whiny kids. ... More

Posted by drews at 15:58, 01 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Chronicle

Chronicle Very dull slow take off for this comicbook type film as we see a bunch of teens just messing around and talking crap whilst not much else is going on. The first half of the film is shown through 'Andrews' camera as he goes around filming everything and its damn annoying, of course its building characters but to be frank it doesn't seem that way as its really uninteresting. The way in which the three young males find the 'unknown object' in a deep dark hole after simply climb... More

Posted by Phubbs at 04:33, 01 August 2012 | Report This Post


Slightly better than Twilight....and that's not saying much!

I really cant believe this got 4 stars. The effects were ok and I really like the whole telekinesis idea but this reminded me way too much of a Shit MTV Twilight type american teen flick. After Cloverfield did the POV thing so well whilst at the same time being very suggestive, I think it just didn't work in this film. But if I had to flag one thing in particular that made me think this film was pretty terrible it was the acting by the 3 leads, especially the main dude who was just awful! I will... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by guysalisbury at 14:37, 12 July 2012 | Report This Post


Loved It

Best POV movie to date. Great plot, being bullied at school myself, I can see how this tragic environment of violence and fear would push someone off the deep end. Loved the flying scenes, and the intermesh of different camera views. This will become a classic, please let these directors go play with the big boys. I'm certain they will teach them a trick or two! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by danielthompson99 at 17:30, 14 June 2012 | Report This Post


Original Surprising Amazing

Chronicle is very different addition to the found footage genre but one that will take you on an incredible journey. It is not perfect a lot of whats happening and whats happened we don't really know but as there is going to be a sequel im sure all will be revealed. Some great scenes will leave you breatless. It is an all round enjoyable entertaining film that you could watch again and again. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by withgreatpower at 11:46, 01 June 2012 | Report This Post


A truly steaming pile......

Don't get me wrong, the concept was thoroughly original but how this film got such rave reviews I will never know. What seemed like an eternity into the film I glanced at my watch, only to discover that 25 minutes had passed. I literally wanted to shoot myself. I saw this over Ghost Rider, which got terrible reviews, but I should have gone to see that instead! This film wasnt help by the shaky camera (my heart sank as soon as it started) and the fact that I though the main character was ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by theseabadger at 18:44, 28 March 2012 | Report This Post


Chronicle review

When the words 'superhero movie' are said, immediate thoughts draw to; Iron man, spider-man, batman and maybe even the awful spoof film of 2006! Competing with such superhero companies as D.C and Marvel and also going against the superheroes that most know and love, is quite a risky plan. Which is why I believe the recent release of Chronicle is such a interesting and important one. Not only does it compete against the big companies, it also offers something new and fresh as the whole film is sh... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Beastwoop11 at 19:11, 26 February 2012 | Report This Post


Chronicle, film of the year?

Well it certainly is a contender. The story is gripping and the script is excellent. Awesome Irish Dude literally couldn't take their eyes of the screen. It is not a fantastic quality film but it is certainly a heap of fun. I feel using video cameras to show the story was a good idea but I got the feeling that two thirds of the way into it they ran out of ways to use this method. The main character literally takes other peoples cameras and makes them swirl around him so you can see him. It seeme... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Awesome Irish Dude at 20:25, 25 February 2012 | Report This Post


Chronicle, film of the year?

Well it certainly is a contender. The story is gripping and the script is excellent. Awesome Irish Dude literally couldn't take their eyes of the screen. It is not a fantastic quality film but it is certainly a heap of fun. I feel using video cameras to show the story was a good idea but I got the feeling that two thirds of the way into it they ran out of ways to use this method. The main character literally takes other peoples cameras and makes them swirl around him so you can see him. It seeme... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Awesome Irish Dude at 20:21, 25 February 2012 | Report This Post


An entertaining fantasy!

"Chronicle: found-footage constraints are overstretched & the narrative feels too truncated but on overall it's an entertaining fantasy! 6/10" (www.twitter.com/jasinlondon - It's all about life, the arts & politics.) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jas_SJ2 at 17:20, 20 February 2012 | Report This Post


An entertaining fantasy!

"Chronicle: found-footage constraints are overstretched & the narrative feels too truncated but on overall it's an entertaining fantasy! 6/10" (www.twitter.com/jasinlondon - It's all about life, the arts & politics.) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jas_SJ2 at 17:20, 20 February 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Chronicle

Saw Chronicle on Saturday night and thoroughly enjoyed it... Although it has it weaknesses (editing chiefly amongst them) I thought it was a sound bit of film making all round and very entertaining.   4 out of 5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Discodez at 15:30, 20 February 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Call the doctor...I need benedryl.

L: Trumpetnut Was Blair Witch this active with the camera? so in my opinion. I had to leave half way through BW as I got my one and only bout of really bad motion sickness to the point where I couldn't look at the screen. I was concerned that this would have the same effect but it didn't affect me at all. ... More

Posted by Hobbitonlass at 13:43, 20 February 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Not bad

Really enjoyable film. Great superhero story and left open for a sequel. Good Saturday afternoon viewing. ... More

Posted by Twisted Kitty at 13:39, 20 February 2012 | Report This Post


Call the doctor...I need benedryl.

It was my own fault...I shouldn't have sat so close to the screen after eating a burger meal. Never have I had to leave a cinema before the end of a film, not for the toilet, not to get away from crisp bag rustling watchers, not even because the film was absolute bobbins...and never have I had to leave for the rather incongruous reason of feeling seasick. Was Blair Witch this active with the camera? NYPD Blue? I don't think so. For me, and my stomach contents, it was the defining constant of a m... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Trumpetnut at 21:59, 19 February 2012 | Report This Post


what a load of rubbish

I'm sorry, but please tell me the point of this film. It's the first time in my life that I have walked out of a film. Very disappointed. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by footpicker at 23:44, 17 February 2012 | Report This Post


Scifi rip off

Chronicle reminds me of a science fiction anime called Akira. Minus the scientists and genetic mutation at the end ofcourse, but mostly the same. First person camera viewing didn't work on reality shows. I'm confused why anyone would think a movie is different. Only 2 stars for this movie, in my opinion. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Akirarip at 16:30, 14 February 2012 | Report This Post


APEX PREDATOR INDEED.......

Heroes season one is ten times better than this - but that doesn't mean Josh Trank's mini- masterpiece isn't worth seeing. On the contrary, this film had me hooked from the get go. I dig superheroes and comic books anyway - but Trank was clearly pushing the boundaries within his limited budget and the results can only be commended. How many millions will they spend on the new Superman movie? Ten/twenty times more than what was spent here I'd wager - and yet there were times when I thought I was... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ROTGUT at 19:04, 13 February 2012 | Report This Post


More user comments

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Rogues Gallery: Powers Boothe
Sin City's Roark talks us through his most memorable baddies

Richard Attenborough: In Celebration
Saluting a man who made a lasting impact on cinema and beyond…

Exclusive: Luc Besson Talks Lucy
'There is no bullshit with Scarlett Johansson'

Video: Daniel Radcliffe Talks What If...
On Gordon Ramsay, swearing and date movies

The 24 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Who Shot First? The Complete List Of Star Wars Changes
An exhaustive chronology of George Lucas' post-release tinkering

Film Studies 101: A Film Buff's Guide To Movie Movements
Everything you need to know about cinema's key groups

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)