Let’s be frank, here. I refuse to call this film a sequel to the previously released Cloverfield (2008), which, by the way, is a great film. In 10 Cloverfield Lane, our hero, Michelle, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), wakes up one day to find herself prisoner in a bomb shelter. She is unable to leave, and is told that the air outside is toxic.
This film is a little slow moving at the beginning. However, I don’t believe that this is a bad thing. I actually believe that this was intentional. The actions from each of the characters, and the situation at hand, simmers, and becomes the psychological thriller we all deserve. As the film picks up, it’s suspenseful, and at times, claustrophobic. But it is the characters that truly make this movie great.
Winstead does a fantastic job as Michelle. She’s the strong woman that every film should have. For being a thriller, I never got mad at what she was about to do, or said “don’t go in there”. Maybe is was the great writing and directing, but I don’t want to sell Winstead short here. However, it is John Goodman (The Big Lebowski), who plays Howard, the owner of the shelter, that does a freakishly good job. Howard is one of those typical “doomsday prep” people, who builds and stocks their shelter believing the world is going to end. Think Curtis from Take Shelter… Only if Curtis was 10 times crazier, abusive, and had some mysterious past. I would say this ranks up there among the top performances in Goodman’s career. Goodman evokes a sense of fear inside of you, as we can never tell if his intentions are good or bad.
As a viewer, you’re constantly driven back and forth about what is truly going on around these people. And although Howard has built this bunker for himself, he is joined by Michelle, and now Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.). Emmett is the third wheel along for this crazy journey. But because the film is centered on Howard and Michelle, you never get to really know Emmett. There is some character development fit into the film, but none that really truly develops Emmett’s character as a whole.
I did have a few problems with 10 Cloverfield Lane. I thought the film had a few too many plot holes that were unwarranted, in my opinion. I assume they did that to add more of a psychological torment to the viewer, but it really didn’t confuse me in that way. I had pretty much made up my mind at that point. However, these problems were small, and didn’t really cause me to really dislike this film.
I refuse to go any further about the plot of 10 Cloverfield Lane, for fear of over overstating a scene and ruining the film for some of you. I will say that J.J Abrams is having a great year so far. Along with his recent directorial success, Abrams takes hold of the producer rains to create this “secret project” (the film was shot under the title Valencia), and it damn well pays off in the end. 10 Cloverfield Lane, will frighten you, and will make you jump. Although the film has a few plot holes, it will leave you wanting to see it again and again.
10 Cloverfield Lane
Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg
Stars: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr.