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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Rule of the Thing

On a night full of high spirits and mischief,three Seattle youngsters happen upon a hole in the ground.

Written by Shubhra Gupta | Published: February 4, 2012 12:02:15 am


Director: Josh Trank

Cast: Dane DeHaan,Alex Russell,Michael B. Jordan,Ashley Hinshaw,

Rating: **1/2

On a night full of high spirits and mischief,three Seattle youngsters happen upon a hole in the ground. And the thing nestled deep in it. The boys get up close and personal despite the twitches and unease: it is a Thing,because it is not something whose dimensions or provenance they can fully grasp,even when they touch it. We know what it,or the portion of it that they are able to look at,is,because one of them has a Handycam,and has been filming their little escapade.

Chronicle turns out full of unexpected surprises,and not all in prettily photogenic ways. The Handycam yields the kind of found footage which is immediate,shaky,and in your face; and sometimes you can see the face of the fellow who uses the camera all the time. And that’s because the girl he likes is also a wielder of a camera,one she uses to post videos on her blog.

Turns out that the encounter with the mysterious thing has imparted special powers to the boys. They can lift objects through the air,and they have boyish fun with that: so what if a girl won’t smile back,her skirt can be lifted with a quick far-away flick of the wrist,can’t it? But all too soon,the harmless fun gets twisted around to wreck havoc. Andrew,(DeHaan) who lives with his dying mother and abusive father,is the most impacted,and his changing affects the other two. Steve (Jordan) is soon shoved aside; Matt (Russell) whose powers match those of Andrew’s puts up a stronger fight,and that struggle is fairly spectacular,leading to Batman-style destruction of vehicles and buildings and humans.

Yes,Chronicle is sort-of sci fi,and reminded me of an old Stephen King novel called It,about a bunch of impressionable youngsters and what they come upon,one night in a cave in a forest. But what interested me most was the quick leaping interplay between the teens,and the incessant manner in which they appear to be captive to their little screens (phones,cameras,gaming),pressing buttons even when they are talking to each other. What happens when there are no buttons left to press? That leads you straight up,up,in the sky,above the clouds,where everything you’ve known is below. And the only thing left is you. And,of course,The Thing.

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