Saturday, 26 March 2016

Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane made headlines when its first trailer debuted in front of screenings for Michael Bay's 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, not only for being connected in some way to the 2007 cult hit Cloverfield but also for how much of its production was done in secrecy; that's no mean feat in the era of information leaks. Fans hoped that the film would live up to their great expectations (let us not forget that a Cloverfield sequel has been wished for by many for some time now), and I'm pleased to say that 10 Cloverfield Lane truly is a fantastic film although perhaps not the one fans of the original were hoping for.
Indeed, if you were optimistic this film would shed light on the nature of the so-called Cloverfield Monster then you will be left disappointed, as producer J.J. Abrams insists that this film does not even take place in the same continuity as the found-footage sci-fi flick released nine years prior. But while you won't find answers in a screening of 10 Cloverfield Lane, what you will find is a well-written atmospheric thriller which deserves to be recognised as far more than just "Cloverfield's sort-of sequel," but as an impressive drama feature in its own right.

The film follows the story of Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Michelle who upon waking up in a doomsday bunker is left to wonder whether the world above her is quite as uninhabitable as her captor Howard (John Goodman) claims: and she's not the only person struggling to make her mind up. Throughout this movie I found myself trying and failing to unpick the true nature of this situation as we the audience are constantly being thrown to different conclusions for the duration of this rollercoaster story. This makes for a thrilling viewing experience, one that quite literally had me on the edge of my seat for almost the entirety of the climactic second half.

One must praise all three of the lead performances for being truly stellar; Winstead is compelling as the main protagonist, while Goodman consistently manages to expertly walk the line between caring and creepy creating one of the more complex characters of mainstream cinema so far this year. 10 Cloverfield Lane's unsung hero may well be John Gallagher Jr., who lacks both Winstead's screen-time and the mystery of Goodman's Howard but nonetheless plays a pivotal role here as Michelle's fellow captor Emmett.

Where 10 Cloverfield Lane has proven divisive is in its final act where a drastic shift in tone has left some scratching their heads. Personally, I enjoyed even this part of the film as I was so invested in Winstead's character by this point that little could have taken me out of this immersive story, however I can understand why some would see these final scenes as an odd change of pace.

In spite of this contentious finale 10 Cloverfield Lane remains a remarkably strong film, one that is without a doubt worth your time and money. Familiarity with the first Cloverfield entry is entirely optional as those with no knowledge of that experimental sci-fi feature will still find themselves wrapped up in the intense human drama this movie provides.


Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.