Three high school seniors find what is probably (almost definitely) a spacecraft, but whatever it is does not matter. The important thing is that it gives them amazing powers. To call their new-found abilities telekinesis would be a severe understatement. More than just moving things with their minds, the boys find they can even fly! One boy’s powers are, from the very beginning, stronger than the others’. As their powers grow, the stronger boy begins to lose control. His friends try to set down rules, but they cannot control him.
Characters and Actors
These three are an unlikely trio, to say the least. They have little in common, and, for the most part, they would never have become friends if not for their new abilities.
Andrew (Dane DeHaan) is the quiet kid who does not seem to have any friends. His mother is terminally ill, and his father cannot afford her medication or treatment. Moreover, his father is an abusive alcoholic. Bullied at home and at school, Andrew’s loss of control does not come as a surprise to the audience. I felt that DeHaan’s playing of Andrew is very believable. His emotions feel genuine, and his motivation is easy to see and feel.
Steve (Michael B. Jordan) is the popular athlete. He loves to party and have a good time. Everything seems to be going right for this guy. Again, I felt the actor is a good fit for the role. Jordan is very charismatic, and he gives that trait to his character.
Matt (Alex Russell) is Andrew’s cousin, and he and Steve seem to already be friends. He is not very popular, but he is also not the loner that his cousin is. Feeling responsible for Andrew, he tries to get him to come out of his shell by dragging him along to parties. Russell feels less emotionally readable than his costars. However, he still pulls off the part pretty well. I think, though, that more feeling from him would have been desirable.
The “found footage” style has been overdone as of late, and I was initially disappointed to see that this film adopted it. However, as the movie progressed, I decided that it fit-if only Matthew Jensen had stuck to it. There were moments in the movie when he switched gears, and that was so much more annoying than the moment when I realized that this was yet another found footage film.
Josh Trank’s directing brings everything together nicely. The shift in tone from playful to more serious as the movie advances is quite effective. In addition, the settings portray the mood-such as when the boys are in the clouds during the thunderstorm and during the final showdown.
Finally, the story (written by Trank and Max Landis) and the screenplay (by Landis) are well-done. While the teenager-gets-superpowers plotline is worn-out by now, it is somewhat less expected, though perhaps more realistic, for such a young man to use his powers for silly and even selfish means. All three of these boys do so, but only one does not know when to stop himself. The writers put a new spin on the old tale.