Andrew Crushes The Car In Chronicle
Most of Chronicle’s trailers closed with a young man sitting in a junkyard. With a look of cold confidence, he closes his hand and crushes a wrecked car lying behind him. The young man in question is Andrew, a lonely kid from a broken home who obtained vast psychic powers alongside two friends, Steve and Matt, from a mysterious object in an equally mysterious hole in the ground.
For a time, the three are content to amuse themselves with the many pranks psychic powers allow, but after Andrew nearly kills a rude driver, Matt sets out stricter rules for how they use their powers. Despite some moments of happiness, the stress of his home life and a meteoric rise and fall in his peers’ esteem for him push Andrew further and further into insanity and misanthropy. The car-crushing occurs as Andrew shifts into a brutal, survival-of-the-fittest mindset that eventually leads to a murderous rampage through Seattle.
Chronicle’s act of violence is somewhat unusual compared to its peers on the list; no-one is hurt. Andrew crushes a car while ruminating on the power his abilities gives him. But it is still a shocking, effective moment. It is one of the first times Andrew has used his powers for exclusively destructive reasons, and not only is he casual about it, he is deliberate. Whoever eventually sees the recordings Andrew and Matt make throughout the film is meant to take the car-crushing as a statement of intent.
Like Bane beating down Batman, Andrew aims to intimidate, and he does so through power. But where Bane is a man with an exact mission that he has given himself to completely, Andrew is an angry young man who starts out with a plan but is eventually reduced to an incoherent, furious wreck. As powerful as he looks crushing the car, it serves no purpose to anyone beyond demonstrating his strength and making him look cool.
With a single moment, writer Max Landis, director John Trank and actor Dane DeHann set up Andrew’s character arc for the remainder of the film in an attention-getting, internally consistent way. It is an excellent bit of writing in a generally excellent film, and as with all the films on the list, it is worth seeing at least once.
These are just five of the many films that have come out this year. Which others used violence well? Which had certain moments that were unforgettable, in part because of the way they made use of violence? Which completely messed up in their use of violence? Which films were great in part because they did not use violence? There is a discussion to be had here, and it is a worthwhile one.
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