A MONSTER OF A MOVIE
There has been much discussion about the film Cloverfield ever since its trailer was leaked last summer. Speculation about its real name has been rife with the trailer ending with no title, merely the legend 01.18.2008. I went to a press screening of it last Thursday at Empire Leicester Square, one of the biggest screened cinemas in the country. Produced by JJ Abrams (of Lost and Alias fame and currently working to resurrect the Star Trek franchise) and directed by his mate Matt Reeves, Cloverfield is shot all on hand-held camera, so as a viewer you are forced to adapt to the different feel of the film and as a monster movie, it delivers what it promises. A creature is attacking New York and we witness the devastation wrought by its presence and get to see it close up, thanks to the central conceit of the film: that this is footage shot by Hud Platt, played by TJ Miller, while it’s all going on. At 75 minutes running time, it’s one of the shortest films in recent memory and it manages to capture the chaos and dispair something like this might cause to the residents of a huge city like New York. The characters are fairly throwaway but you aren’t here for the deep characterisation. The monster looks fairly scary, visually it is impressive and the sound editing here is amazing: Cloverfield should be seen on a big screen at the cinema. Of course, it has its flaws (the handheld camerawork does lead to headaches on a couple of occasions) but as a technical exercise and as a rollercoaster ride, it does exactly what it should do. It’s not a film that people will be talking about for years but Cloverfield is a film that people interested in cinema should see onceā€¦