Monday, 11 February 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Cinematic: Cloverfield

It took me long enough to get to Cloverfield. And then I see it twice in 48 hours. Why? Because, frankly, Cloverfield is a terrifically original and surprisingly great film.

I know it shouldn't be the case - a hype-led film shot entirely in the style of a home video (albeit one you sure as hell wouldn't show the kids) is doomed almost immediately to fall victim to it's own publicity machine. Think Blair Witch, perhaps - more news coverage than the last election, sunk like a trace into movie history. Eep. Let's hope Cloverfield doesn't whimper away wounded like the witch did, ay?

Why though? Well, without giving too much away (because although the second viewing proved this is not a film reliant on initial surprises, they sure are fun), this film is more original than Original flavour Hula-Hoops when they first came out. Uh huh. That original. Every possible cliche is avoided so well that you actually feel guilty for expecting them.

And the camera work is perfect - after a jerky first few minutes it calms down (relatively, at least), and has some of the best cinematic shots of the year (if only that bastard classic No Country For Old Men hadn't taken the first place title already...) - one late shot involving auto-focus is near-perfect, and a moment everyone involved in the creation of should be incredibly proud of.

The script? Spot on, perfect, with only one contrived cinema line in the whole film (and even that's funny). Every sentence hits the mark, whether it is meant to increase the tension, decrease the tension ("I just can't stop thinking how scary it would be if a homeless guy on fire came out of the dark now") or just sound like normal people experiencing something horrible.

The only flaw - and it is only a small one at that - is that, even after second viewing, where everything tends to go faster, the beginning scenes, before the attack, start to drag slightly, and quite quickly too. Still, once the action kicks in there isn't a poor moment to this short but awesome film.


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