One of my favorite things about movies: when there's a "moment". What's a "moment"? When there's a single shot that just...blows your mind by how beautiful it is, but also because it embodies the narrative or a character. Think of There Will Be Blood and the scene where the oil explodes from the ground, turning the derrick into a volcano. There's the nighttime shot of the derrick, its outpouring on fire, in the background, and with Daniel Plainview, in the foreground, bathed in the shine from the fire, glistening from the oil that slathers his body, back to the camera, sitting, staring at the fire. The shot itself, totally out of context, is gorgeous. But in context, it is the physical manifestation of this man's persona: symbolism. Hot damn.
So is there a shot in Chronicle that is singularly better if we put it toe-to-toe with anything from, say, PTA's The Master? No. But. In context. The flying scene from Chronicle took my breath away. That first instance of being in the clouds. Why? 1: it was unexpected. The sudden cut from "hey, look, we can hover off the ground" to "WE'RE AEROPLANES MOTHER FUCKER YAAAAAAA!". Unexpected, also, because a found footage film has never had a similar shot. Has any genre of movie? Can you name me any first-person perspectives of flight in film? One's that are sustained as long as this? 2: it's a "moment". Andrew's life is intense. He isn't liked by his peers. His dad is an utter asshole. His mom is dying. He is alone and feels buried. Until this point, the movie had been full of dark shots of interior spaces. Andrew's room. The car. The outside of the party (it's outside, but somewhere feels enclosed). There are some brighter moments once the kids get their powers and start bonding. But this, this scene, this shot: is the pinnacle of joy in the movie. Pure freedom and exultation. It's also THE BRIGHTEST spot in the movie. It really is sad when the next time we're flying the clouds are black...after that, it's all downhill...Ah, Icarus.
Cinema Beans: Beyond the Black Rainbow
Birth from Arboria's system is meant to allow any individual to "discover your...self." Not YOURSELF, but instead recognizing the full potential of one's self as a human being. Barry (Michael Rogers) spends the entirety of Beyond the Black Rainbow helping Elena (Eva Allan) tap into her psychic abilities. But while his brainwashing tactics are normally flooded with red and blue, our flashback to Michael's birth into the system literally culminates in a black-and-white birth that provides the proper sinister aura that first shaped the malicious Barry. And overhead shot of Barry emerging from the black guck that transforms him, he then coats the impossibly clean white floors with his gasping body, providing a haunting image that's as treacherous as it is beautiful.