Cloverfield (2008) Movie Review
Photo Credit to: http://cloverfield.wikia.com/
“It’s eating people.”
Cloverfield is a found-footage thriller about a group of people who are throwing a goodbye party for one of their friends, but get more than they bargained for when a monster-like creature causes chaos on the city as they document the most horrifying event of their lives.
Cloverfield is directed by Matt Reeves and is written by Drew Goddard. It stars T.J. Miller, Lizzy Caplan, Odette Annable, Jessica Lucas and Michael Stahl-David.
It’s very unique how this film appears when you are watching it. It’s all taken on one camera, a person holding it like he would be taping a vlog. This is an interesting gimmick that pays off in the long run, as we in the audience become fully engaged and feel as if we are there, rather than observing the chaos from afar. This is a great choice by director Reeves, who here has crafted a tense and carefully crafted involving thriller. Since the camerawork is so unique, it makes the experience much more thrilling and investing.
The performances are done by mostly not so well known young actors, but do a solid job at portraying their characters. Not all of the characters are thoroughly developed, but our main ones are developed through their choice of action and how they react to such a act-on-the spot type of situation. This helps the audience understand and care for them more so than if it were to spend half of the movie trying to flesh them out with exposition rather than getting the plot moving realistically.
The film’s screenplay is solid. The characters act in a way and talk in a way that feels realistic to their situation. Even though there are times when it feels as if characters make some dumb and unreasonable choices just to progress the plot in a certain way, they still do make some smart decisions that help balance out that issue.
Michael Giacchino’s composed score for this movie is great. It isn’t so loud that it overlaps the movie’s feel of realism, but it fits in just right to reflect the movie’s tone very well.
From a technical point of view; it’s a marvel. The sound feels very realistic and has been mixed and edited very well to realistic results in the final product of Cloverfield. The visual effects are great, with the film’s highlight being the start of the destruction and the statue of liberty’s head being flung into the streets. It sets up the tense action that the rest of the film has to offer perfectly.
The best parts of the film include its unique visual aspects and camerawork, that make this such a compacted and tense thriller that makes its audience engaged and invested thoroughly. It has some funny moments here and there, but in all seriousness, it has a lot of meaning throughout that general audiences might miss. It’s layered where there is so much unpredictability and you aren’t quite sure why these events are happening until maybe a rewatch or some research. It is a fun thriller, but there is definitely something more to it that makes it unique apposed to other recent Hollywood thrillers.
Consensus: Cloverfield is a tense, overlooked, marvelously crafted and fun thriller that benefits from it’s involving camerawork that invests the audience, even if it is a bit too short in length.
Final Grade: A-