Tue 5 Feb 2008
Let’s not beat about the bush, this film is brilliant.
I’ve been trying to think what makes it so good and I’m a bit flummoxed to tell you the truth.
It’s shot using mainly small handheld digital cameras which is an unusual fashion and I think this helps to make it stand out a bit in your mind - like the Blair Witch did on it’s release. Also like Blair Witch, the making of the film has been kept as secret as possible with most of the pre-release publcity focussed on internet sites and the like.
I like the thought of going to the cinema and seeing a film without actually knowing the full story - too often these days if you have seen a trailer or two and read a review then actually going to see the film is a bit of a disappointment.
So with Cloverfield, it’s creator and producer J J Abrahms tried to keep as much as possible under wraps so that when an audience did finally see it there were no expectations and whatever was meant to be a surprise genuinely was. Of course with the media they way it is now, they didn’t manage to keep everything a secret but they did a pretty good job of not spoiling the film by giving too much away ahead of it’s release and I won’t go into story details here in case it spoils it for other people.
I don’t really understand why the media insists on publishing the content of films and TV programmes ahead of their transmission. A director does his best to make a programme or film which includes some suspenseful moments and then someone somewhere along the line leaks that info to the press and everyone knows that such-and-such is going to happen or so-and-so is going to die. With no warning, these would be very dramatic and impressive scenes but if you know it all ahead of time then they lose that impact somewhat which spoils it for me.
Similar to Jaws and the like, Cloverfield scores points by not revealing too much of it’s monster early on which helps to build the tension as we aren’t too sure exactly what it is the cast are facing.
Too often these days films go for quantity over quality and increase the running time to appear to be more value for money, but the length of Cloverfield is bang on - not too long, but not too short either. The action and suspense comes so thick and fast that it really couldn’t have been much longer, yet at the same time the minutes seem to fly by.
There are talks of a sequel which may dilute the brilliance of this original depending on how they go about it, and also on who they get on board - if they can manage to involve Abrahms and the same crew behind the scenes then they could maybe just pull it off.