Sunday, 18 December 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane; thriller, USA, 2016; D: Dan Trachtenberg, S: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher, Jr.

After a heated argument with her boyfriend, Michelle leaves her home at night, but has a car accident on the road. She wakes up in an underground bunker which is run by Howard, a conspiracy theorist who built it predicting the end of the world. He claims that he saved her because there was an unknown chemical attack on the surface, and that they must stay in the bunker for a year or two until the fallout clears. Another man found refuge there, Emmet. Michelle and Emmet grow tired of playing Scrabble all the time and decide to make a gas uniform to get out on the surface. However, the authoritarian Howard refuses and kills Emmet. Some time later, Michelle battles Howard, puts the gas mask and escapes from the bunker. She witnesses a UFO abducting and killing people on the field. She gets into the car and goes to join the people fighting the invasion.

Dan Trachtenberg's feature length debut film is an eerie commentary on the fake news and conspiracy theory paranoia pandemic at that time, arguing that fear and panic should never subsume a rational mind – even when their guess turns out right. Basically a thriller edition of Kusturica's "Undeground", "10 Cloverfield Lane" slowly builds its tension between the clash of the three protagonists in the underground bunker, based on small nuances, subtle looks and threatening body language, with Trachtenberg having enough skill to keep up the level of the storyline until the end – one of the best sequences is when Michelle and Emmet agree to make an escape plan and later that evening play the guessing game, "Taboo", with Howard, who scares Emmet ("I am watching you! I see what you are doing! I know everything!"), until Michelle guesses that he is only referring to Santa Claus. John Goodman is excellent as Howard, displaying a typical blend of excuse for his authoritarian actions by only claiming he is taking care of the group, and showing his range as an actor. However, a wider spectrum of a viewing experience would have been welcomed, since the movie is at times overstretched for this 'one note' concept, lacking a more versatile touch, which means that it managed to do a lot of things right, including the plot twist at the end, yet it is still not a complete hit as classic 'minimalistic thrillers' as Hitchcock's "The Rope" or Spielberg's "Duel".

Grade;++

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