|“||A lion does not feel guilty when it kills a gazelle. You do not feel guilty when you squash a fly. And I think that means something. I just think that really means something.||„|
|~ Andrew Detmer|
Andrew Detmer is the main protagonist-turned-main antagonist of the 2012 film, Chronicle.
He was portrayed by Dane DeHaan
Andrew was raised in a small, middle-to-lower class home in Seattle, where his father worked as a firefighter until an injury forced him into retirement (it is not currently known what his mother did before she became debilitatingly ill). As a child he was very close with his cousin Matt Garetty, but eventually Matt succumbed to peer pressure and cut ties with Andrew to avoid the social stigmas that had already begun to follow his quiet, withdrawn cousin. By high school, Matt drove Andrew around, and was friendly and accommodating, but their relationship was strained and Matt continued to avoid Andrew in public. The only person in his life who showed him any bit of love, comfort, or acceptance was his mother, who was diagnosed with stage IV cancer.
At some point during his high school career, Andrew, after being socially isolated, abused, and harassed for a number of years, went out and bought a cheap camera to document his daily life and put a surreal barrier between himself and the onslaught of cruel bullies, his violent, alcoholic father, and the pain of witnessing his mother's deteriorating health. He brings the camera everywhere, allowing the audience to watch as his father nearly punches a hole in his door at seven AM in an attempt to beat him, his cousin Matt shrug him off order to sit in the car, smoke weed, and avoid being seen with him, his peers in school kick his camera around and try to make him cry, the pretty girls scoff and refer to him as "creepy", and several thugs in his neighborhood assault him just for walking by. That night, the audience is forced to witness as Andrew's father finally breaks into his room, and proceeds to punch him in the face and knock him out of his chair for simply not opening the door when told to do so.
Abused, self-hating, and socially inept, Andrew finally breaks down and cries the night he is brought to, and abandoned by Matt at a barn party, where again he is attacked after filming a girl dancing. It's there that he meets Steve Montgomery, a highly popular and friendly school President-to-be, who asks him to follow him over to a place in the woods in order to film some oddity. They both find Matt standing outside a hole, which radiates some bizarre, loud vibrations, shocking the three boys and sending Matt, Steve, and a reluctant Andrew to go down the hole to investigate. They find a massive, glowing rock with mysterious black vine movements inside several transparent spires, and as as they get nearer and linger in front of the rock, the camera Andrew's carrying begins to malfunction, and Steve's nose starts to bleed. The camera goes black as they begin to scream.
Having safely emerged, Matt, Steve, and Andrew come to realize that they have telekinetic powers, and experiment playfully with them by throwing softballs back and forth, building lego structures to dramatic music themes, and skipping rocks. They realize that their powers are like muscle tissue, wherein if they exercise it regularly and gently push it, they're capable of becoming stronger. This is proven when the boys go from barely being able to hold up a softball to managing to move an entire car. All of their experiments are relatively harmless and playful, until one rainy evening, after being out with Steve and Matt all day playing tricks on people in toy stores and teaching each other how to build barriers against physical attacks (they do this by attempting to stab one another in the hand with a fork in a diner), a truck begins tailgating them on the way back. Annoyed, Andrew uses his powers on the truck and ends up knocking it off the road, and sending it sailing into a body of water below.
Shocked and horrified, they all race down below to save the driver as Andrew apologizes, saying it was an accident. Andrew attempts to telekinetically pull the truck out of the water but is stopped by Matt, who tells him to "stop doing things." Andrew and Matt wait in distress as Steve jumps in the water and rescues the driver, who they are all relieved to see is alive. But when Matt starts to call the cops, Andrew tries to stop him, protesting that the man is fine and that they should just leave. He is unable to understand why they had to stay behind while they waited for the cops, and why Steve and Matt are so upset with him.
Relationships somewhat strained, Matt sets ground rules for the trio to avoid another incident like the one on the road--the major one being that they could not use their powers on living things. Eventually resolved, the boys become close again, teaching one another how to use their telekinesis to lift themselves off the ground and fly (eventually becoming so good that they are capable of just hanging around and tossing a football back and forth thousands of feet in the air), and they talk about flying around the world together, with Andrew wanting to go Tibet for its peaceful scenery.
Steve tries to bond with Andrew by being one of the few people to sit down and really talk to him, first by getting him to admit that his father is an alcoholic, and second by getting him to open up and agree to participate in a talent contest with him for school. The contest is a success, and Andrew, for at least several hours, is one of the most popular kids in school for using his telekinetic powers and passing them off as very impressive magic tricks. A post-contest party occurs, and after a bad sexual incident with a girl named Monica, Andrew is once again shamed and publicly humiliated. This roller-coaster of emotions takes its toll on Andrew, and he is pushed to the point where he rejects his friends and distances himself from reality by sitting in his room, playing with his camera, and pulling the limbs off a spider with a disconnected ease.
While at home, Andrew's father comes upon his camera, and finds out about the party. He then corners him in the basement and proceeds to emotionally abuse him, calling him a "loser" and telling him that those people weren't his friends. This escalates to a physical confrontation, wherein Andrew's father overturns furniture, punches Andrew, and slams him to the floor. Andrew snaps and uses his powers to help him slam his father into the wall and choke him, all the while screaming, "I could crush you!" He then throws his father across the room, leaving him moaning in pain on the floor.
Shocked by both his loss of control and the impressive display of his own power, Andrew leaves, and flies up into the eye of a storm. Unbeknownst to him, however, whenever one of them exert their power or are in exceptional physical or emotional pain, the other boys feel it, and while Matt ignores it, Steve chooses to find Andrew in the storm. Concerned for Andrew's safety, Steve tries to get him to come back with him to the ground, and sympathizes when he realizes that Andrew was once again beat by his father. While they argue back and forth, with Andrew accusing Steve of not really caring for him and claiming that they aren't really friends, Andrew's embarrassment and anger at his situation escalate. He demands that Steve leave him alone, pleading for him to get away from him before a lightning bolt strikes Steve out of the sky, killing him.
At Steve's funeral, Matt confronts Andrew about what happened, and is shocked and disgusted to realize that he's still filming everything. When Matt tries to force an explanation out of Andrew, Andrew escapes the situation by flying away. He later comes back to Steve's grave and breaks down, apologizing and telling him that he doesn't know what he did and that he'd lost control of his powers, apparently causing the lightning strike that killed Steve.
Without Steve's friendship, and with a dawning realization of his own power, Andrew consumes himself in strengthening his powers and his control over them and becomes even more detached. Later, while alone in a junkyard, he rants into his camera about Darwinism and how, in nature, bigger, stronger animals at the top of the food chain don't feel badly when they kill smaller, weaker animals, implying that he considers himself an "apex predator". Andrew begins to unleash his power on those who victimized him, starting with a bully who was harassing him about the post-talent contest party, using telekinesis to rip several teeth right out his mouth. Matt later confronts him about this, nearly punching him in the face, but Andrew proves that he is the stronger of the two by deflecting the strike. He tells Matt he won't break his stupid rules and to stay out of his life, and Matt leaves.
Meanwhile, Andrew's mother's sickness is getting worse, and the family no longer has any money to pay for her pain medication. Feeling helpless, Andrew goes to the pharmacy in an attempt to plead with the pharmacist, who tells him that she can only get her meds if the family can pay $700, which they cannot. Furious, Andrew returns home, disguises himself in his father's old firefighting gear, and proceeds to beat the neighborhood thugs with his powers and steal their wallets for what little cash they had. When that is not enough, Andrew storms into a nearby gas station convenience store, telekinetically slams the casher into the wall, and steals everything in the register. As he tries to escape, the cashier emerges with a gun. Andrew throws the gun out of his hands, but it hits a fuel tank and blows the convenience store up, killing the cashier, and both maiming and sending Andrew unconscious.
Hospitalized, Andrew is lying in bed, badly burnt. The police set up a camera at the foot of his bed and call his father in. Upon arrival, his father, crying, tells a seemingly unconscious Andrew that his mother is dead. His father blames him for the fact that he wasn't there when she died, because he was "busy out looking for Andrew" -- which is a complete lie, as Andrew watched and filmed his father leaving the house before he ever even put on the firefighter suit. As he becomes more hostile and demands an apology from Andrew for indirectly killing his mother, Andrew wakes suddenly, grabs his father's arm, and blows out the windows of his room. The police and media believe it to be a terrorist attack, and tactical units and helicopters arrive within minutes. Meanwhile, Matt's nose begins to bleed, and he senses Andrew's agony. He chooses this time not to ignore it, and heads to the hospital with his girlfriend frantically following him.
With the death of his beloved mother, Andrew is on an emotional rampage. Now public with his powers and flying atop the hospital with numerous media outlets filming him, Andrew attempts to kill his father by dropping him from the air, but Matt swoops in just in time to save him. Infuriated by Matt's interference, Andrew lets loose on the public. The cousins proceed to have a violent showdown in the middle of downtown Seattle, with Matt pleading for Andrew to stop, and Andrew refusing, screaming that Matt was never there for him. He proceeds to outright declare himself an "apex predator", and hits Matt with a bus.
However, badly injured from both the convenience store fire and the physical confrontation between himself and Matt, and weakened with grief over his mother's death, Andrew hits the ground twice. Both times Matt attempts to protect him from the police officers threatening to shoot and kill him. When he lands beneath a statue, the police ignores Matt's pleas and Andrew's cry to "leave him alone" and opens fire on Andrew. Andrew freezes the bullets mid-air and drops them to the ground before sending the entire force and all their cars sprawling back with another burst of telekinetic energy in retaliation. He then releases a scream of agony, and proceeds to mindlessly destroy everything around him, breaking all the windows of the buildings surrounding him. Realizing that Andrew can't be stopped or reasoned with, Matt pleads desperately with him for the last time, crying, "Don't make me do it!".
Matt eventually, painfully relents, and impales his cousin with the spear of a statue. Andrew dies, and Matt flies away before the police can reach him.
At the end of the film, Matt sets Andrew's camera up in front of a small cluster of snowy, Tibetan temples. He tells him that he's sorry for what he did, that he doesn't believe Andrew was ever a bad person, that he loves him, and that he's going to find out what happened to them. The film closes with Matt leaving the camera recording the tranquil image of the temples, and the hope that Andrew has finally found the peace he'd been searching for.
- Richard Detmer - Andrew's former-firefighting father, who, after becoming injured on the job, was forced into retirement. A violent alcoholic, Richard takes the frustration of being unable to work, and unable to provide for his cancer-stricken wife, out on Andrew, by beating and demeaning him. Notably, during one scene, Andrew addresses Richard by name, suggesting that he refuses to acknowledge the man as his father.
- Karen Detmer - Andrew's loving but fatally ill mother. Slowly dying from cancer, Karen spends her last days trying to instill a sense of confidence in Andrew, whom she knows is very withdawn, very lonely, and very self-defeating, by telling him, "You're stronger than this." Karen is one of the only characters in the film who unconditionally loves Andrew, and whom Andrew trusts and unconditionally loves in return.
- Matt Garetty - Andrew's cousin. Although Andrew alleges that they were close as children, they have a very strained relationship throughout a majority of the film, with Matt deliberately avoiding Andrew in public, and later admitting that he hadn't always "liked" Andrew due to his difficult nature. Despite how cruel and dismissive he may seem, Matt does sincerely care for Andrew, and risks his life to protect him during the climax of the film.
- Steve Montgomery - Andrew's best friend. Steve is a charismatic, sociable, and good-natured wannabe-politician. He is the only person in the entire film to reach out to Andrew who is not family, and may be Andrew's first and only friend in some number of years. Throughout the film, Steve attempts to bring Andrew out of his shell by loaning him nice clothes and convincing him to take part in a school-wide talent contest. Jokingly considering himself a "proud dad" when the attempt is successful, Steve inadvertently puts himself in a big brother-type role that couldn't be filled by Matt. Although Andrew likes Steve, he later confesses, during a highly tense outburst, that he doesn't believe that Steve would ever have been his friend if it weren't for their shared powers; implying a lack of trust and lingering insecurities brought up by his father who had just abused him.
- Casey Letter - A love-interest of his cousin Matt's, Casey has a shared interest in film, and is polite toward Andrew when she encounters him at the barn party. Andrew does not interact with her again throughout the rest of the film, except to nearly kill her when he takes control of her car at the Space Needle.
- Monica - A pink-haired girl and fellow high school student Andrew meets at the post-talent contest party. She is the closest thing Andrew came to ever having a girlfriend, during which they knew each other for only a few hours, both were intoxicated, and Monica only showed interest due to Andrew's sudden and brief popularity. She would have been his first sexual experience, had Andrew, nervous and heavily inebriated, not vomited on her while they were together. She later mocks Andrew in the hallways, laughing at him with her friends, and causing him to snap and attack one of his long-time bullies.
- Andrew replaces his father as the main antagonist after gaining his powers because he had bigger plans than anyone else.