Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ordinary Guys

Movie Poster

Massive Spoilers

In February I saw the movie Chronicle and frankly I was blown away. It takes a very simple idea and works it on a whole different level.

This movie looks at the day to day lives of three guys who are spend most of the movie just hanging out together and adds an interesting twist. Of course the twist is basically a mind fuck.

The conceit of the film is similar to The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield. Basically a couple of guys film their day to day lives with hand held cameras. So the film as a jerky, amateur quality to it. Although it manages not to have the truly annoying headache inducing camera jerkiness of The Blair Witch Project.

So the film at first follows around a group of guys in their everyday lives, of parties, chilling out and hanging with each other.

The characters start with Andrew Detmer, who is a seriously conflicted, angry young man, played by Dane DeHaan with artistic dreams and a terminally sick mother and a father who is toxic to a truly unpleasant degree and violently abusive.

Andrew Detmer is the ordinary guy simply interested in a good time and the one and only real friend Matt Garetty, played by Alex Russell, is also interested in a “good” time and making his friend Andrew less awkward.

Joining our two friends is Steve Montgomery, played by Michael B. Jordan, who is basically a golden boy popular with everyone and quite likable and unlike Andrew not the slightest bit socially awkward. He is basically the popular school kid.

In the course of hanging out our friends find a hole in the ground and investigate it. Inside the hole they find a cavern and in there they find a glowing stone. They exchange a few “what the fuck is this” comments and go home.

What happens next is the films twist. They begin to discover that they can do stuff. Like cause things to float in the air etc. In other words they develop super powers!

In many respects this is like a conventional super hero origin tale in which our hero(es) are exposed to radiation and because of that develop superpowers. Unlike those characters our protagonists don’t go on to don silly costumes and fight crime.

Instead they explore their burgeoning talent and frankly they get a huge trip doing strange and wonderful stuff like flying or making things fly through the air through the power of their minds.

Also appearing in the movie is Ashley Hinshaw, who plays Casey Letter who is a love interest of one of the characters and Michael Kelly as Richard Detmer as Andrew’s psycho father, who is a through creep. Not seen much but often mentioned is Karen Detmer, played by Po Peterson, Andrew’s terminally ill mother.

Andrew is basically a basket case. Full of rage against his living situation especially his thoroughly toxic father. The end result of all this is a final scene when Andrew totally breaks down, and Matt has to make things “right”.

The acting is uniformly excellent. Dane DeHaan especially is good at conveying Andrew’s borderline state at the edge of madness. Michael B. Jordan as Steve Montgomery, the golden boy, conveys brilliantly someone who views his powers as an excuse for a good time. Alex Russell as Matt Garetty, the most philosophical of the three, conveys well someone who feels awesome responsibility along with his new powers. Ashley Hinshaw as the “girlfriend” Casey Letter is especially good at being the ordinary person caught up with people she doesn’t know anymore.

The special effects are quite good and surprisingly vastly more convincing than the great majority of effects for most superhero movies.

The script is up to snuff and the plot compelling. Especially entertaining is the “Magic show” segment and the final battle.

However what really works is the way the movie plays on and explores the quirks involved in the friendship between three very different individuals. Little details like eye movement, tone of voice are used to convey that these people “know” each other.

In the end the movie conveys very well what could happen if three ordinary guys got superpowers and it isn’t pretty.

Scene from movie

Pierre Cloutier


  1. Anonymous7:31 pm

    You should see the new movie Kon Tiki.
    You'll love it:P haha

  2. I see you've read some of my pieces about Thor Heyerdahl's extremely questionable arguements for hyper-diffusionism. AS an adventure story the voyage of the Kon Tiki is quite exciting. As proof of contact between Polynesia and Peru it is dubious at best.

    I don't know if the movie skates over Thor Heyerdahl's many adventures in pseudoscience land or his stunningly cavalier attitude towards evidence.

    The fact remains that 60+ years after the voyage Thor Heyerdahl's hypothesis is very unlikely.

    a) There was no invasion of blond and red headed, blue-eyed "White" people who brought civilization to the New World c. 1200 B.C.E., much like the Spanish Conquisitors who conqured Mexico and Peru.

    b) The Polynesians did NOT originate from the northern Pacific coast of North America. In fact it appears that the Polynesians did indeed originate in East Asia and migrated from there as indicated by their speaking a Austronesian language.

    c) Easter island is throughly Polynesian and any pre-European contact with PSouth American Indians, assuming such a thing happenned, would have been incidential. In other words no large scale settlement of the island by South American Indians. (Who are actually the descendents of the Blond etc, invaders of c. 1200 B.C.E.)

    d) Despite Thor Heyerdahl's disagrement and derision of same it appears that Polynesia was indeed settled from East Asia by Polynesians sailing further East against prevailing winds and currents.

    e) There is and remains close to zero evidence of ANY Peruvian contact with Ploynesiaq pre-European. And such evidence is dubious.

    f) THe "White God" bringing civilization and returning mythos that Thor Heyerdahl used to bolster his theories as been exploded in that the natives of the New World simply did not have such legends until after the Europeans came and imposed them. In the original myths the Gods bringing civilizations were NOT "White".

    g) Blood group studies and genetic studies have shown that the Polynesians are not offshoots of American Indians. Except of course groups, like Easter Islanders, who subsequent to European contact were subject ot repeated and in many cases brutal attention from fleets and ships based in Peru.

    h) With the latest Archaeological digs in Peru and sites like Caral and Aspero, the foundations of Peruvian civilization have been pushed back to 3000 B.C.E. at least. In Mexico the origins of Olmec civilization now go back to c. 1600 B.C.E. Thus entirely precluding civilization being brought c. 1200 B.C.E.

    i) Despite decades of digs Thor Heyerdahl's alleged invaders have not left a single artifact that can be found. This lack of artifacts would effectively preclude hyper-diffusion and moderaste diffussion leaving only incidential voyages.

    j) The piling up of similarities is a sterile field esspecially when it is done the way Thor Heyerdahl did it. Thor Heyerdahl's approach of comparing items seperated by thousands of years is esspecially dubious. The fact is given the fact that each culture is composed of many many thousand upon thousands of traits and that humans make culture similarities are foredoomed to arise. This esspeci8ally true if humans are trying to adapt to similar enviroments.

    J) It does indeed appear to be the case that the civilizations of the New World originated and developed largely on their own. If anything the research since c. 1950 has massively strenghthened that idea.

    I still might see the movie I like an adventure story.