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In 2007 JJ. Abrams secretly produced a film which went on to be the smash hit CLOVERFIELD; a giant monster running amuck flick communicated by way of the “found footage” gimmick…um…I mean device. Now in 2016, he pulled the same trick all over again and whipped out 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE out of his sleeve and slammed it on the table for all to see. So what is an Ace or a dud that was dropped? Read on!
Directed by first time feature film director Dan Trachtenberg from a script (originally named The Cellar) by Josh Campbell and Matthew Stuecken (which was then polished by Damien Chazelle of Whiplash infamy) 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE made for a mucho engaging cinematic experience. I thankfully went in cold, meaning I managed to avoid all forms of spoilers beforehand and for the bulk of the running time not only did the chain of events have me on the edge of my edge but it also kept me guessing as to what the bleep was truly going on. Man it felt swell to be skillfully and royally f*cked with by a movie again, I was having a freaking blast in my seat, anxious as to how it would all turn out!
The acting on display was just as masterful as the screenplay. The always reliable Mary Elizabeth Winstead gave yet another intense and captivating showcase, John Gallagher Jr brought in some levity and laughs via his likeable performance while John Goodman gave a career best as the “may be insane” savior. I can’t remember the last time Goodman got such a meaty and nuanced role and was this f*cking good at it. Likeable, scary, loving, menacing...all at the same time. I predict some “Best Actor Awards” for him in the future. Add to all quality a handful of back-handing moments that had me cringing, a BADASS score by Bear McCreary that elevated the tension to a higher level of “f*ck yeah”, a sly knack at implying things as opposed to spelling it out for us and an energetic directing style by that made sure to keep me hooked in the whole way through and you get fairly solid movie! So why isn't my rating higher?
Well for starters, when I mulled over the film after my screening I came up with a couple of plot holes/convenienes to serve the plot (like the questionable location of that air filtration system...). Nothing major but it needed to be said (cause I get paid by the word ;). But my biggest peeve had to do with the last 10-15 minutes or so of the movie. Personally I loved the direction the story took and the idea behind it. It was the execution that failed to bowl me over. It’s hard for me to go into details about it without spoiling anything so I’ll just say: the designs didn’t do it for me, I wasn’t fully sold on what went down, lots of its was too dark and when the end credits rolled I didn’t feel 100% fulfilled i.e. I needed another 10 minutes of “that game” to quench my thirst. The result was that the film lost its impact during its closing moments – not an ideal way to finish off. But hey, some of you may feel different! Just how I felt...
SHAM NOTE: I gotta say it; I didn’t care for how they PRETENDED that this film was tied to CLOVERFIELD to get asses in their seats. Both flicks had NOTHING in common. Moreover, SHAME ON THEM for releasing it in IMAX. I almost went to see it in that format, thank Crom I didn’t, I would have been so pissed to have paid more money to see a flick that is mostly set in an underground bunker on a bigger screen. END OF SHAM NOTE
On the whole, although its last act didn’t live up to the excellence that preceded it, I still had a mammoth good time with THE CELLAR, euh, I mean 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE. Worth a tap, just duck the IMAX “rip you off” trap they laid out for y’all!