I had a really early finish at the studio today, so I was lucky enough to jump over to the premiere of Cloverfield. I know a bunch of critics are going to hate it, but I bet a good few will be partial to it. Personally, I think most of [URL=“http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0009190/”]J J Abrams’ stuff sucks and just gets hyped up through his silly links between his productions, and media leaks. Cloverfield was different for me though. The theatricals just to kick start the movie was clever. Lights go out, and then the projector looks to be malfunctioning. Most of the dumb teens sitting in the cinema begin groaning, and then a message from the CIA pops up (making them feel stupid for believing that a digital projector would actually pop out an analogue, static break-up) It simply cuts to the start of the tape and you see that it’s entirely shot through hand-helds, in a home movie format. As a result, the perspective of the film is entirely in first person.
This movie was very peculiar in the manner it *wasn’t * constructed. It wasn’t a film made up of deep and intricate meaning and symbolic/metaphorical messages. No soft and cuddly moral. It was exactly what it looked like: an un-biased record of catastrophic events; caught on tape. We see the film open as a planning for Rob Hawkins’ surprise going-away party, and then it being taped to document his last moments with his good friends. It’s full of testimonials from friends, and seems like nothing more than the average home video. The night goes on and then a blackout and a massive explosion occurs. The tone immediately swaps, and you could say the genre does too. They head out to inspect what is going on and see enormous flaming debris hurtling towards them.
As soon as the mayhem begins to unfold, the audience is left just as clueless and disorientated. They try to escape the city, but their attempts are foiled by some creature . When you do see the monster that attacks New York, things are still very much confusing, as the whole film is shot as a continuous ‘take’, restricting information by proximity and location. From then on, you learn information just as the characters do.
Time jumps were established by the handy cam stopping and starting, and snippets of footage from one of Rob’s dates and the end of the tape is paralleled to the end of the film. I don’t want to spoil it, but the film is designed to leave everything wide open at the end, and for theories/speculation to finish the film off. The end of the film confirms it by just ending when something seems to be beginning. In fact, the first couple of minutes of credits flicks on immediately, with no sound; except for the chatter and astonishment of fellow audience members.
I truly think that JJ did an amazing job creating a film with nothing in it. Think of it as a choose your own ending film, except the ending can be whatever the heck you want it to be. Hope this one picks up a bunch of awards (haha, if the writers strike doesn’t screw everyone over)