Movie Review - Cloverfield
Starring Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman
Rated PG-13 for terror, violence, and disturbing images. Running Time of 85 minutes.
From the very beginning of the extremely smart viral marketing campaign for this film I was hooked. Who could resist the subtle ads that didn't even tell us the name of the movie when it played for the first time in front of Transformers? Who wasn't at least intrigued to go online and look up anything they could about this untitled project and then when they did just get more of the same? I couldn't and neither could millions of people who showed up on opening weekend to propel this movie to the top of the box office and most liked it. Even critics have agreed that it is a good movie with a 76% positive approval rating on RottenTomatoes.com.
The months of anticipation was worth it as I was most amazed at the movie. It is definitely not your normal big-budget monster movie. This flick was produced for very little compared to big box office flicks, but for a lot more when compared to the smallest of independant films. Thus it falls smartly between the two as a sort of hybrid mix between big budget Hollywood and the independents. I was impressed with the style of the movie which relies heavily on a handheld camera. The style of the movie helps to tell the story very effectively by using the confusion and lack of information available to the main characters as a way of enticing the viewer to pay attention and look for clues. Looking too hard could result in sickness though, as the camera is extremely shaky as the movie seeks to give the impression that a novice inexperienced person is operating the camera that tells the story. If you have motion sickness, the major theatre chains are issuing warnings to stay away. Even if you don't have motion sickness, the movie may cause headaches because of the crazy camera movement. The good thing is that it usually only lasts for a minute or so till its back to decent framing and stillness.
Regardless of the camera movements, the story itself is quite opposite of what the trailer seems to portray. This movie is really more about the turmoil and confusion of a small group of friends during a disaster than it is about the HUGE monster attacking the city. The monster is merely a backdrop for this main story of love and devotion as our main character Rob desperately runs back into the city to save his best friend and recent romantic fling from dying.
The acting is very good even though there are no big name stars here to anchor the movie, which works once again to the advantage of the story as it is supposed to be a 'found' videotape documenting this terrible attack. The special effects are also top notch as it effectively shows the monsters and other chaos without making it look cheesy or fake. That was my biggest concern going in and my fears were put to rest as soon as the movie started playing. The other good thing about the film's direction and style is that it builds to seeing the monster for the first time, as it starts showing bits and pieces of him, but never totally revealing the monster till much later in the flick.
I really enjoyed watching this flick and the unusual style in which it was filmed. I purposely left out a lot of detail in this review as I don't want to spoil any aspects of the movie that weren't already released in trailers so don't expect me to reveal what the monster looks like!
I highly suggest watching the film as it is an original film that tells the story in a somewhat new and exciting way. Cloverfield is playing at Cinema 3 in McCook and you can find show times by logging onto www.fridleytheatres.com.