Wednesday 31 August 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane

The last few years have been sequel, remake, reboot, sequel, remake, reboot…Everywhere you look, there’s a Jurassic World or a *gasp* Ghostbusters. It just reeks of unoriginality, doesn’t it? With all the unique and interesting unproduced screenplays out there, Hollywood makes a fucking Ghostbusters remake…But just when it looked like it couldn’t get any worse, 2016 brought us a sad new development to this trend.

Hollywood has done something that has truly made us realise they only care about money – as if we didn’t know that already. Yes, the greedy bastards of tinseltown have taken a unique and original little thriller, The Cellar, and reshot parts of it to sell it as a sequel-thingy to 2008’s surprise smash-hit Cloverfield. Welcome to 10 Cloverfield Lane, a film that could mean the start of a new wave of franchise filmmaking. If anyone out there hasn’t seen the film yet or heard about the ending, avert your eyes now. Mild spoilers lie ahead…

Let’s start at the end. 10 Cloverfield Lane is one of those films that unfortunately lets itself down with its climax, leaving a rather sour taste in the mouth. That is not to say it is a bad film – quite the contrary infact, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a remarkable thriller that would have Hitchcock squealing with delight…for the first hour. But Hollywood’s dirty attempt to change the film’s original ending is highly forced and jarring, and simply does not suit the film’s tense and understated build-up. And unfortunately, this is the only thing that people will remember when discussing 10 Cloverfield Lane.

For those who haven’t seen the film yet – anyone? Bueller? – 10 Cloverfield Lane follows Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a young runaway who wakes up from a car accident in underground captivity. She learns she has been ‘rescued’ by Howard (John Goodman), who tells her the outside world is gone due to an attack and she must learn to live with him and the naïve Emmett (John Gallagher Jr) until the outside world becomes safe again. But as Howard begins to show a dark and violent side to his personality, Michelle wonders if what he’s been saying about the world outside the bunker is in fact a lie…

The first hour is up there with some of the most tense and edge-of-your-seat viewing you can find in a thriller. John Goodman is absolutely phenomenal, giving a career-best performance that makes you fear the sound of his voice in any other film. Monsters Inc is now a completely different experience…As the intense Howard, he steals every scene and makes the film uncomfortable to watch – but difficult to look away from. John Gallagher Jr is great too as the gentle and confused Emmett, while Mary Elizabeth Winstead puts in some fine work too as the increasingly paranoid Michelle.

But that ending…that bloody ending. Maybe I’m being dramatic, it isn’t completely jarring - the whole thing isn’t a dream, nor is Howard actually a shape-shifting alien in disguise. But for such a dark and quiet build-up, the spectacle climax on offer here is just a little over-the-top. I can think of several ways it could’ve ended better and it’s unfortunate to think that one of those endings was probably originally written before Hollywood got its dirty paws on it. For all of the dark twists you imagine throughout the film, the most obvious and Hollywood ending is the one you get. It’s a shame, because a shocking ending would’ve elevated this to one of the best films of the year. But with this mainstream and predictable things-go-boom climax, it leaves a big feeling of disappointment as the end credits roll.

So, is it worth a watch? Yes. It is absolutely still worth your time, the first hour is up there with the best hours of cinema 2016 has brought us so far. John Goodman is an absolute marvel, delivering a performance that is truly deserving of awards. Will ol’ King Ralph finally get an Oscar? Time will tell. The majority of 10 Cloverfield Lane is exceptionally well directed and written, and perfectly executed. The ending is a disappointment but we can only blame the Hollywood bigwigs for that. Yes, it’s a bloody silly climax – but it isn’t enough to ruin what is, in fact, a damn fine film.

For the first hour alone, 10 Cloverfield Lane earns a solid 4/5.


Sam Love

10 Cloverfield Lane at CeX

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