10 Cloverfield Lane
One of my favorite character actor John Goodman known more for his supporting roles as Dan Connor on the hit TV show “Roseanne” and Walter Sobchak in “The Big Lebowski, gets the rare turn as the feature lead in the mysterious psychological drama with the overly benign pedestrian title called “10 Cloverfield Lane”.
At the onset, we see a young woman named “Michelle” who we find in her apartment and is moving frantically about as she is obviously distressed by something that has happened in her personal life. In short order we see her driving her car on a dark narrow road and in a flash we find her chained to a basement wall. What happened? Well, I can’t tell you; and this is as much as I can say other than if you want to know more, then go see the movie.
My review: Directed by newbie Dan Trachtenberg, he delivers a fresh movie that essentially is designed to get your unbridled unwavering attention from the get go and man oh man does he do it exceptionally well. Not with visual explosions, car chases, excessive violence or anything that would cause you to creep out per-se with bloody gore. No, Trachtenberg goes after one of the most vulnerable parts of the human body – the meandering imagination of one’s mind.
Throughout the 1:45 minute running time I thought I had 10 Cloverfield Lane figured out. Nope, I was dead wrong as it took me through some familiar paces from previous films I had seen in the past such as Russell Crowe’s recent “Noah’s Arc”, Kathy Bates deranged “Misery”, a smidgen of the old 1960’s TV show “The Twilight Zone” and finally a bit of legendary film Director Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”, in regards to someone being a captive by their own imaginative mind to what they think they are seeing verses actually knowing what is true.
10 Cloverfield Lane is a mix of all of these previously mentioned films but in no way will lend you a single clue as to what the plot’s conclusion will be, as it takes the viewer though the horrors of abduction, the effects of having and living a “Bunker Mentality” (having a state of mind bathed in defensiveness and self-righteous intolerance) and “Stockholm Syndrome” (a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express irrational empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors). And yet with good pacing “Cloverfield” messes with your mind each frame as it’s none of these things? Or maybe it is all of these things. Again, you will have to see the movie to know for sure.
What I can share what the film is definitely about, is plenty of a psychologically terrifying and frightening enough trip to get in your head with some excellent stage craft, infused with well executed precise raw tension, timely emotional humor, good energy, some white knuckled scary jolts and an authentic squirming un-predictableness to its very claustrophobic atmospheric end.
Structurally, it is an excellent film with not a single hic-cup other than a small matter in regards to the film’s “Michelle’s, played wonderfully by the actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who uses some very unexpected “creative skills” to figure a way to turn the tables in her favor while in the bunker.
Don’t miss seeing this, as it takes you down a familiar path while avoiding a whole range of potential clichés. Instead it is a highly imaginative smart mind twist effort that you won’t see anything coming.
Here’s to hoping they make an “11 Cloverfield Lane”. Maybe they will, but again maybe they won’t. You will have to see the film for yourself to be sure.