Director: Josh Trank
Stars: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, Ashley Hinshaw, Bo Petersen

Based on its early trailers and plot synopsis, Chronicle had so much room for error: It’s yet another found-footage genre movie (possible strike one), is centered upon a bunch of, per Hollywood’s unfortunate tradition, potentially irritating high school kid characters (possible strike two), and its director is a first-timer tasked with executing a big-studio, special effects bonanza (possible strike three).

Who would’ve thought that all three possible strikes would ultimately prove to be the film’s three best attributes? Employing a slew of inventive, clever uses of the first-person POV aesthetic, director Josh Trank does the impossible in the highly impressive Chronicle, justifying the found-footage conceit while also progressing the technique.

As for those “potentially irritating high school kid characters,” we couldn’t have been more wrong in our assumptions. As written by Max Landis, the three central leads in Chronicle are all delicately handled, never losing our connection even as their sudden exposure to superpowers alters their lives in negative ways. Specialized kudos go to Dane DeHaan, though, who gives a richly layered performance as the bullied outcast unable to control his sudden faculties.