*Warning: This post contains spoilers.
I saw the movie Chronicle when it was first released a few weeks ago and I have to say, I haven’t wanted to go see a movie a second time in theaters since…well, it’s been a long time. I must admit that when I first saw the trailer for the movie I was excited about its release, but when they continuously showed the same trailer over and over again, it made me very nervous. Was there really that little to the movie that they needed to repeatedly show the same thing? Despite my fresh reserves about the movie, my husband and I saw it opening day and it was better than I first thought it would be. The story was amazing; their technique for filming was fantastic and gave a twist to the shaky-cam filming. I suppose I should actually tell you what the movie’s about and how exactly it relates to family and relationships.
The movie focuses on three high school boys: Andrew, Matt and Steve. Primarily the movie focuses on Andrew who, coincidently, will also be the primary focus of this blog post. He has just gotten a new video camera upon deciding to tape everything from that point on but doesn’t give any particular reason as to why that is. Yes, this movie is another shaky-cam styled movie, but like I said, they use a bit of a different technique because instead of focusing on one camera, the audience jumps back and forth between Andrew’s camera and others. The audience quickly learns that Andrew’s family is not stable–his mother is severely ill and slowly dying while his father is a disabled, abusive drunk who often takes his anger and frustration out on his son. Andrew appears to have a strong bond with his mother who looks to adore and love him very much; it’s obvious that she only wants the best for him. If she knows about the abuse going on is unknown, but my best guess is that it is kept from her as much as possible due to not wanting to put more stress on her considering her condition.
If you think about it, Andrew’s situation really is not all that different from some other families. The details of the situation may be different than what is shown in the movie, but abuse does take place in families around the world. There are many different forms such as spousal abuse, child abuse, there’s also both mental and physical abuse. From my view it seems as if Andrew throughout the movie suffers from both physical, mental and probably some emotional abuse as well. This isn’t all due to his father, but he is the biggest part of it. Many may wonder what causes people to abuse others and really it depends on the situation. We don’t learn a lot about Andrew and his father’s relationship before his mother gets sick and before his father gets laid off from work due to his disability, so it’s hard to say if this has been ongoing for many years or if it’s only been going on since his mother got sick and his father got laid off. If I had to make a guess, however, I would guess that it may have been a long term situation just from the way Andrew acts around his father and when he’s out in public.
We continue to follow Andrew to a car waiting for him outside, which is where we meet Andrew’s cousin, Matt. We later find out that when they were younger, Matt and Andrew had a relatively close relationship, but as time went past they started to grow apart and it seems as if Matt only tolerating Andrew because they’re family. I find myself wondering if Matt knows about what happens when Andrew is at home and if he has ever done anything to try and stop it. It’s possible that Matt doesn’t know and I really wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t because often in situations where there is abuse, the victim hides the fact that it’s happening from everyone. There are many theories as to why this may be stretching from embarrassment to fear. In Andrew’s situations, I would guess that it’s both embarrassment and fear because as you’ll see as you watch the movie, he’s pretty socially awkward and being abused would, in his mind, only make things worse. The audience is driven to school while Matt sings a variety of songs on their way in–the singing was off key, might at add, but did open the door for some comic relief after seeing Andrew’s home life. We follow Andrew through his day at school where we see that he is almost constantly bullied by his peers; this poor guy just does not get a break. It quickly becomes apparent that Andrew is a loner and that the only thing close to a friend he has is his cousin and now his camera.
In attempts to get Andrew to be more social, Matt convinces him to go to a party, where he then leaves Andrew to fend for himself against the crowd. This probably is not the best situation for Andrew to be in because, let’s face it, he is obviously not well liked and it seems as if trouble follows him everywhere. Within a matter of what seems to be minutes, Andrew is threatened and has a drink spilled on him and his camera causing him to leave the party. He sits outside in the grass sobbing softly while cleaning away the mess when he is approached by a young man named Steve. Andrew quickly whips his tears away and when Steven asks if something is wrong, he quickly answers that he’s fine, which again makes me feel as if he wants to avoid embarrassment. As the movie goes on it started to appeared to me as if Steve was almost the complete opposite of Andrew: popular, good with women, comes from a good, loving family, etc. while Andrew is stuck in an abusive relationship with his father and many of his peers. Steve is able to convince Andrew to follow him to a hole that is found to lead into an unknown cavern of sorts, but never-the-less Steve, Matt and Andrew–after some resistance–enter into the dark hole where they find a glowing crystal or perhaps even a spacecraft of sorts (it’s never really explained). They approach and touch the glowing object, which seems to trigger something causing a bright light to engulf them and the screen.
The three boys are unsure of exactly what happened to them, but they do know that they have developed some sort of new telekinetic ability. As time goes on, we watch as the three boys discover the extent of their powers and how it works–learning that it acts like a muscle; the more it’s used the stronger it becomes. It’s soon apparent to the audience that Andrew’s powers seem to be growing stronger and faster than the other two boys. Perhaps this is because of what is going on in his home life. Things with his father seem to get worse and though Andrew has the power to stop what is going on at this point, he still is unsure of how to go about doing it so instead he takes the beatings and holds his anger in.
It soon seemingly becomes obvious to Andrew that if he uses his anger to harness and control his powers that his abilities become stronger. After an accident occurs where Andrew “accidently” pushes an aggressive driver along with his truck off the side of the road nearly killing him, it’s established that they need rules to follow. The most important rule, in my opinion, was that they were not to use their powers when angry and I feel that this rule is the most important because not only has Andrew realized the power of his anger but so has his cousin Matt. I think that it’s common knowledge that anger is not a feeling that one should be messed around with, which I think they try to portray by setting the rule of not using their powers while angry. We were discussing the other day in class as to why abusers abuse others and one comment that was brought up was that they were so angry they didn’t know what they were doing, that they couldn’t control themselves. I think Andrew has been doing a relatively good job with keeping his anger in check, but the question is now that he knows how powerful he is when he utilizes his anger, will he still be able to control himself?
Really, it’s only a matter of time before Andrew snaps and breaks the rules. Considering how much he has been holding in his anger throughout his life, I’m honestly surprised it didn’t happen soon, but perhaps that’s because he didn’t have his abilities pervious therefore his fear kept his anger at bay. The movie goes on to show how Andrew gains and loses popularity within a couple of hours when he is humiliated at a party and the taunting continues the next day at school, which causes Andrew to snap, using his powers against one of the school bullies. Back at home it is seen that Andrew’s father is having difficulty getting the medication that his mother needs in order to sooth the pain that she is experiencing. Angered by what is happening with the medication, suspicious about what Andrew’s been up to and more than likely drunk once more, his father proceeds to take Andrew down to the basement where he goes after him once again, hitting and punching Andrew as if it’s his fault things are going south. His father goes on to tell (more like yells at) Andrew about how his new friends are just using him and how they don’t actually like him, which plants a tiny seed in his mind (and we all know what happens to seeds). Andrew, for what is probably the first time in his life, decides to fight back, retaliating against his father breaking the trio’s rules once more by using his powers. It seems as if Andrew has always lost full control while taking his revenge on his father when he pulls himself away, letting the man live. Using his abilities to fly into the air to get away from everything and everyone in attempts to cool down from what has happened.
Steve joins Andrew tries to help, but the idea that they aren’t really friends is stuck in his head. Combining the thought with his uncontrollable rage, Andrew tries to tell Steve to leave knowing that he cannot control what is going on with him; his anger is too much for him to control and therefore he cannot control his abilities. Lightning begins to strike and a large flash of lightning leaves the audience to wonder what has happened until they are transported into the future to a funeral that is taking place. It is found that Steve has died and the cause of death was from being stuck by lightning. Matt is easily able to put two and two together knowing there were no reports of a storm the day of Steve’s death, turning to Andrew for answers about what happened.
Andrew essentially isolates himself after what happens with Steve, but that does not stop him from continuing to develop his powers. With his new found knowledge of what he can do using his anger he slowly begins to change before the audiences’ eyes from a teenage boy who gets picked on and abused all the time to the Alpha Predator; however, it seems as if his love for his mother keeps him somewhat in check due to his want and need to help her to get better. Because they don’t have the money to afford the medication to take his mother’s pain away, Andrew does the only thing he can think of: he disguises himself using his father’s old fireman’s uniform and goes out in search for means to pay for the needed medication. He tries to rob a gas station, which he is somewhat successful at; however, the gas tanks explode leaving Andrew cuffed, on video surveillance, unconscious, and in the hospital. It’s surprising to see that Andrew’s father comes to visit him considering how he has treated Andrew up until that point, but we soon discover he is not there because he cares for Andrew’s health, far from that. Instead he wants to tell Andrew how crappy of a son he is because after he ran off his father went looking for him and while he was gone, his mother died. He continues to put down the no longer unconscious Andrew who, again, cracks, losing control of his anger. It seems as if he is still out for revenge against his father and soon flies into the air where he dangles his father above passing onlookers.
Instead of letting him fall to his death, Matt comes in at the nick of time to save Andrew’s father’s life before going to Andrew in attempts to defuse the situation.
Matt attempts to get Andrew to calm down and to just run away from the situation, but Andrew is out for blood. In my opinion, I think that Andrew refuses to run because that’s exactly what he has been doing for so long. He runs from his father, he runs from the bullies, but now that he has this new found power, he’s lost complete control and refuses to run anymore. The audience is soon watching a battle between Andrew and Matt, which almost seems as if it’s a battle between control and lack-thereof because Matt still has control, while Andrew has no control over his abilities or what he’s doing because of his anger, an anger that has been stewing and waiting to be released. It comes down to a critical moment at the end where Andrew and Matt are surrounded by cops; Andrew is about to attack them when…well, I’ll let you go see the movie to find out exactly what happens.
Chronicle is an amazing movie in my opinion and if you haven’t seen it as of yet, you need to check it out. It keeps you on the edge of your seat just waiting to see what happens next. It also shows how if one is brought up in an abusive situation what may possibly happen. Not necessarily that the one being abused will develop the ability of telekinesis, but that they can one day strike back and it may not stop after they’ve gotten or have attempted to get their revenge on the original abuser(s). I think one of the major morals of the movie is that if you are being abused by someone that you should seek out help and if you know that someone is being abused, don’t sit idly by do something to try to help them. But again, this movie is amazing and it looks at family in a different sort of way than I usually talk about.
The topic of abuse and domestic violence is not one that I’m going to be letting go, so don’t be surprised if a future post revolves around that topic.
Enjoy the movie!
Photo Credit: Flickr
Posted on February 21, 2012 by Felicia