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Cloverfield gave me an enormous headache, unlike any I have experienced since the first time I accidentally watched all of Blade RunnerCloverfield was shot from a first person perspective, through the lens of a camcorder.  The cameraman is named Hud, which I think is an acronym for Hefty Urban Douche.  The picture was dark, shaky, and hopeless.  As the streets of Manhattan are destroyed by a raging battle between the Army and a giant monster (exciting!), the audience gets to watch a group of loathsome twentysomethings mope around the New York Subway system (not exciting!).  Despite constant complaining, exploding women, and a frat party romance on the rocks, the cast never manages to drum up any drama nor to incite audience investment.  The main characters in Cloverfield remind me of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, in that they are self-obsessed yuppies.  Unlike Patrick Bateman, the cast of Cloverfield never manages to stage any nudity-filled murder sprees, a valid application for POV.

So why is Cloverfield relevant to ChronicleBoth movies share the same POV shooting style, with a single camera as the primary means by which the audience sees the action.  Why is Chronicle so much better than Cloverfield?  Through the magic of decent screenwriting and telekinesis, the shots in Chronicle are orderly, not at all shaky, and fit together into a compelling story.  Credit is due to director Josh Trank, as well as screenwriter Max Landis for creating one of the best superhero origin stories in recent memory.

Chronicle follows three high school students, Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Matt (Alex Russell), and Steve (Michael B. Jordan).  At the beginning of the story, the three men are separated by social status as well as personality.  Andrew is withdrawn and unpopular, emotionally crippled by his abusive father and terminally ill mother.  Matt is more mainstream than Andrew (his cousin), affecting a pseudo intellectual image to impress the mousy blogger girl at school, Casey (played by non-mousy Abercrombie and Fitch model Ashley Hinshaw).  Steve is the stereotypical popular guy, a football star, and the future class president.  While at a rave in the forest, the three unlikely friends discover a cave, and with it a mysterious new power.

Psychokinesis, as loving defined by Wikipedia, becomes the common bond between the three young men, and leads to a very entertaining story arc for Andrew, with Matt and Steve taken along for the ride.  Without spoiling the events of the movie, it is safe to say that the newfound power changes the men in different ways, each according to his personality.  Does this mean that Landis wrote the story as a Freudian study of corruption?

If so, Andrew seems to represent the id, unknowingly seeking out an end to his pain.  Matt is the ego, taking rational steps to achieve real-world goals.  This leaves Steve as the super-ego, a narcissistic man trying to achieve perfection; take the trophy cases in Steve’s house for evidence of this assertion.  Is this psychoanalysis justified by the movie?  Have I fabricated this entire review?  Watch Chronicle and find out.


X Factor of +1, since this movie proves that POV can work in an action movie.

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