Saturday, February 09, 2008

Cloverfield

I went to watch Cloverfield today. At first I thought of writing a review, but in the end, decided that James Berardinelli pretty much nailed it.

Imagine a monster film told from the perspective of one of the random terrified screamers on the streets of New York instead of the "hero"/government/military/scientist etc., marry it to a Blair-Witch style handheld camera technique and you get Cloverfield. Someone said (below) that it's Godzilla for Generation Y, a postmodern, pessimistic take on catastrophe - there's no overarching metanarrative, no answers to the many questions raised: where does the monster come from? and so on. Granted, it does probe questions of "what would I really be like in the face of unimaginable disaster" but not in a sustained fashion.

I think it's a very well-crafted film, but that's not necessarily the same as an enjoyable or even ultimately worthwhile film. There was one particular moment near the end of the film which I found very difficult because it hit too close to home. Where it succeeds is that it really makes you believe you were there, which, for some, is what cinema is all about. Parallels to 9/11 too are of course, unavoidable.

If you've watched it, there's a very spirited comment thread going on over at Ross Douthat's, an Atlantic columnist, blog. Well worth reading.

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