Chronicle is a 2012 American found footage superhero thriller film directed by Josh Trank (in his feature directorial debut) with a screenplay by Max Landis from a story by Trank and Landis. It follows three Seattle high school seniors, bullied Andrew (Dane DeHaan); his cousin Matt (Alex Russell); and more popular Steve (Michael B. Jordan) — who form a bond after gaining telekinetic powers from an unknown crystalline object found underground. Chronicle premiered at the Gérardmer Film Festival on January 28, 2012. It was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland on February 1, 2012, and in the United States on February 3, 2012.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Josh Trank|
|Screenplay by||Max Landis|
|Edited by||Elliot Greenberg|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$126.6 million|
In February 2012, Seattle teenager Andrew Detmer (DeHaan) starts videotaping his life; his mother Karen is dying of cancer and his alcoholic father Richard, a former firefighter, is verbally and physically abusive. At school, Andrew is frequently bullied by other students, including his classmate Wayne.
Andrew's cousin Matt Garetty (Russell) invites him to a party to help him mingle with some people, but his filming causes an altercation with an attendee and he leaves disappointed. Popular student Steve Montgomery (Jordan) persuades Andrew to record something strange that he and Matt have found in the woods. The trio enter a hole in the ground, where they hear a loud strange noise and discover a large glowing blue crystalline object which turns red, and gives them painful nosebleeds. As the crystalline object begins to react violently, the camera malfunctions.
Weeks later, Andrew, Matt, and Steve record themselves as they display telekinetic abilities, but begin bleeding from their noses when they overexert themselves. They develop a close friendship and begin using their abilities to play pranks. However, when Andrew telekinetically pushes a rude motorist off the road and into a river, Matt insists that they restrict the use of their powers, particularly against living things.
After discovering themselves being capable of flight, they agree to fly around the world together after graduation. Andrew wants to visit Tibet because of its peaceful nature. Steve encourages him to enter the school talent show to gain popularity, and Andrew agrees. Andrew amazes his fellow students by disguising his powers as an impressive magic act. After the show, Andrew, Matt and Steve celebrate at a house party where Andrew becomes the center of attention. After a few drinks, Andrew's classmate Monica takes him upstairs to have sex but he vomits on her, humiliating both of them.
As time goes on, Andrew becomes increasingly withdrawn and aggressive. When Richard attacks and slaps Andrew during a fight, Andrew violently repels his father's attack - injuring Richard. His outburst is so extreme that it inflicts psychically connected nosebleeds on Steve and Matt. While Matt ignores the nosebleed, Steve flies up to Andrew in the middle of a storm and tries to console him. However, Steve is suddenly struck by lightning and dies. At Steve's funeral, Matt confronts Andrew about the suspicious cause of Steve's death. While Andrew denies responsibility to Matt, he privately begs for forgiveness at a memorial he made at the hole.
Andrew grows distant from Matt and again finds himself ostracized at school. After being mocked by Wayne, Andrew telekinetically extracts three teeth out of Wayne's mouth, horrifying the other students. Andrew begins to identify himself as an apex predator, rationalizing that he should not feel guilt for using his powers to hurt those weaker than him.
With his mother's condition deteriorating, Andrew plans to steal the money for her medication. Wearing Richard's old firefighting gear, he first mugs a local gang then robs a gas station wherein the act ends in failure after Andrew telekinetically grabs the owner's gun, which discharges into a propane tank, causing an explosion that kills the owner and leaves Andrew in the hospital with severe burns and under police investigation. At his bedside, his father informs the unconscious Andrew that his mother has died, and angrily blames Andrew for her death. As his father is about to strike him, Andrew awakens and the wall of his hospital room explodes.
At a birthday party, Matt experiences a nosebleed and senses Andrew is in trouble. He and his girlfriend, Casey, go to the hospital, where Andrew is floating outside. After saving Richard when Andrew casually drops him from several floors, Matt confronts his cousin at the Space Needle and tries to reason with him, but Andrew grows hostile and irrational at any perceived attempt to control him. Andrew, calling himself an apex predator, attacks Matt and the pair fight across the city, crashing through buildings and hurling vehicles. When police shoot Matt in the arm, Andrew throws dozens of police - and their cars - through the air, and then uses his powers to destroy the buildings around him, threatening hundreds of lives. Unable to get through to his cousin and left with no other choice, Matt telekinetically impales Andrew with a spear from a nearby hunter statue, killing him. The police surround Matt and he flies away.
A short while later, Matt lands in Tibet with Andrew's camera. Speaking to the camera while addressing Andrew, Matt tearfully apologizes to his cousin and vows to use his powers for good and to find out what happened to them in the hole. He positions the camera to view a Tibetan monastery in the distance before flying away, leaving the camera behind.
- Dane DeHaan as Andrew Detmer
- Alex Russell as Matt Garetty
- Michael B. Jordan as Steve Montgomery
- Michael Kelly as Richard Detmer
- Ashley Hinshaw as Casey Letter
- Anna Wood as Monica
- Bo Petersen as Karen Detmer
DeHaan and Wood, whose characters feature in an embarrassing "almost" sex scene in the film, had already been a couple for five years (since high school) when the film was shot, marrying a few months after its release.
The film was written by Max Landis, from a story by him and Josh Trank, who also directed it. For budgetary reasons, the film was shot primarily in Cape Town, South Africa, with Film Afrika Worldwide, as well as in Vancouver, Canada. Trank cited the films Akira, Carrie and The Fury as influences on Chronicle. Filming started in May 2011 and continued for eighteen weeks, ending in August 2011. Cinematographer Matthew Jensen used the Arri Alexa video camera to shoot the film and Angenieux Optimo and Cook s4 lenses. Postproduction techniques were used to give it a "found footage" look. A cable cam rig was used for a shot in which the character Andrew levitated his camera 120 feet into the air. The Arri Alexa camera was mounted on a skateboard to simulate Andrew's camera sliding across a floor. Stuntmen were suspended from crane wire rigs for flying scenes, with green screen special effects used for closeups of the actors. Andrew's video camera in the movie was a Canon XL1 MiniDV and later he switched to a HD camera that resembles a Canon Vixia HF M30. His "Seattle" bedroom was actually a set constructed on a film studio stage in Cape Town. Because vehicles drive on the left side and have steering wheels on the right side in South Africa, American style vehicles had to be shipped in for the production. DVD dailies were provided to the director and cinematographer by the Cape Town firm HD Hub.
Among the deleted and shortened scenes are the boys testing and enjoying their newfound powers, more development on Steve's home life (and expanding his relationship with Andrew), and a SWAT team attacking Andrew for a longer period of time than shown in the final cut.
Chronicle opened in 2,907 theaters in the United States and Canada on February 3, 2012. Box office watchers expected the film to gross $15 million for its opening weekend, the Super Bowl weekend, while Fox projected to receive around 8 million. However, by its first day the film had already earned an estimated $8.65 million and finished the weekend as the top film with $22 million, surpassing The Woman in Black ($21 million) and The Grey ($9.5 million) to become the fourth highest Super Bowl debut. Chronicle opened as a number one hit internationally, opening in 33 foreign markets such as Australia, China, and the United Kingdom, where it earned the most with $3.5 million. Overall, the film grossed $64.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $62 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $126.6 million. Chronicle was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on May 15, 2012. The film was released on DVD and a special "Lost Footage" edition for Blu-ray, which contains additional footage that was not shown in theaters.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 85% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 175 reviews and an average rating of 7.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Chronicle transcends its found-footage gimmick with a smart script, fast-paced direction, and engaging performances from the young cast." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 69 out of 100 based on 31 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.
Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5 stars out of 4, saying, "From [the] deceptively ordinary beginning, Josh Trank's Chronicle grows into an uncommonly entertaining movie that involves elements of a superhero origin story, a science-fiction fantasy and a drama about a disturbed teenager.Empire critic Mark Dinning gave the film 4 stars out of 5, saying that it is "a stunning superhero/sci-fi that has appeared out of nowhere to demand your immediate attention." Total Film gave the film a five-star review (denoting 'outstanding'): "Believable then bad-ass, it isn't wholly original but it does brim with emotion, imagination and modern implication." On the negative side, Andrew Schenker of Slant Magazine gave the film 2 out of 4 stars, saying the film, "offers up little more than a tired morality play about the dangers of power, rehashing stale insights about the narcissism of the documentary impulse."
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2012||Chronicle||Golden Trailer Award for Best Most Original Trailer||Won|
|Golden Trailer Award for Best in Show||Nominated|
|IGN Summer Movie Award for Best Sci-Fi Movie||Nominated|
|IGN Summer Movie Award for Best Movie Poster||Nominated|
|Dane DeHaan||Golden Schmoes Awards for Breakthrough Performance of the Year||Won|
|2013||Chronicle||Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film||Nominated|
Fox hired Max Landis to write a sequel. Whether director Josh Trank would return was unclear. The Hollywood Reporter gave a brief one-line mention in its March 23, 2012 issue that a sequel was in development. However, it was later reported that Fox was not happy with the script. On April 10, 2013, Landis told IGN that Fox did like the script and they're moving along with it; Landis also said that the sequel would be darker in tone. On July 17, 2013, Landis revealed on his Twitter account that he and Trank are no longer working on the sequel and new writers have taken over to write the film. In March 2014, Fox hired Jack Stanley to write the script.
Landis revealed at 2013 Comikaze what his plans for a Chronicle trilogy would have been. The explanation for the protagonists' powers came from Massive Omnivorous Geodesic Organisms (M.O.G.O.), essentially giant underground animals who were omnivorous that resembled giant crystals, that were slowly dying out. They had the ability to create "drones" who would go out and collect protein for them. One died during the process of turning Matt, Andrew and Steve into drones and instead they gained super powers. Landis had hoped that the third movie would have featured a M.O.G.O. that was successful in converting an entire city of people into drones. He added that he wanted the explanation to be "mundane" and act as more of a side note so that the audience realizes that the story of the characters was more important than the history of the M.O.G.O.'s.
In August 2019, after Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox's assets, development of the sequel film to Chronicle, revealed to have still at that time been in active development and titled Chronicle 2: Martyr, was paused.
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