Oh My God, It’s Eating Everything in Its Path
Friday night was DVD night again so brace yourself for another of those reviews that strives to tell you as little as possible about the movie.
‘Cloverfield’ is new to DVD here in Ireland and I was first-in to rent it out.
This is one I wanted to see at the movies but that doesn’t happen much any more. The best I can hope to do is get in early on the DVD release (before Castlebar gets its grubby fingerprints all over it), get the Maltesers and the Sprite Zero in, and turn out all of the lights.
Let’s cut to the chase.
I loved this movie. I recommend it to you and I look forward to seeing it again soon.
But, before you rush out to rent/buy/steal it, let me tell you just a wee bit about it because, rest assured, you are not all going to like it as much as I did.
‘Cloverfield’ may have been pitched as ‘Godzilla’ meets ‘The Blair Witch Project’ because that’s pretty much what it is. A giant ‘something’ is attacking a city and we witness the attack through the medium of a single video recording recovered after the event.
Yes, that’s it. Except somehow it’s more. What we get is an extremely convincing portrayal of what it must be like to be at Ground Zero of a major catastrophic incident. In this case it’s the far-fetched scenario of a monster from the deep or outer space or… someplace. It doesn’t matter what or where, the shock, terror, panic, disorientation and fear are all captured very authentically and very convincingly.
And, before you get too annoyed with me, I don’t use the phrase ‘Ground Zero’ in any way lightly. This film will have resonance for any of us who hold the awful events of September 11th 2001 in our memories. The city under attack in this movie is New York and, even though it’s a freaky monster from God knows where, the imagery of the desecration of the city seems quite deliberately designed to pinch the nerve of our shared memories. The sight of a huge opaque dust cloud tumbling up the city block, citizens rushing to stay ahead of its deadly contents – this sight is not new to us.
So ‘Cloverfield’ is monster movie entertainment from a new and highly-effective angle, no question, but it’s also pushing some pretty deep subliminal buttons along the way.
So who won’t like it?
Well, before you rent it, just know this – the hand-held camera work bucks and wobbles like no camera has ever bucked before. The effect in the cinema must have been seriously nauseating for some. You may not like the movie for this reason alone so be warned and don’t blame me if the Doritos come back up on the Axminster.
The great trick that the movie pulls off is that it manages to look like an utter no-budget-credit-card-funded-guerrilla-flick whilst incorporating some of the most remarkable digital effects ever seen. They get away with this because the effects are never trumpeted, they just ‘happen’ and the filmmakers are always more concerned with the protagonist’s reactions than with how cool they have made their monster look.
The film is a short sharp shock. It runs fast and it ends quickly. I like that, I hope you do too.
Let me know.