’10 Cloverfield Lane’: Go for the Goodman

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My feelings on “10 Cloverfield Lane” are, in a word, complicated.

The film tells the story of Michelle, a woman who wakes chained to a pipe after a car crash. A suspicious figure named Howard (John Goodman), tells her there has been “an attack” and he saved her from the wreck. The name implies the film is somehow connected to the Cloverfield franchise.

Hold that thought.

As the movie progresses, both Michelle and the audience are tasked with picking apart Howard’s odd behaviors to determine his true intentions.

It takes some serious acting skill to walk the line between a kind-hearted conspiracy theorist with social problems, and a perverted introvert prone to violent outbursts. Goodman, despite being known for playing loveable everyman characters, delivers a complex character without breaking a sweat. This movie is Oscar-repellant, but Goodman definitely deserves recognition.

If I could rate “10 Cloverfield Lane” purely on the first 90 minutes, it would be a strong 4.5.

Unfortunately, someone decided to completely change the tone from a gripping thriller to a ridiculous action flick during the last quarter of the film.

I’m going into spoiler territory for the rest of this review, so reader beware.

Go see it for Goodman. He’s amazing. Feel free to walk out when things get intense.

In an interview with io9’s Germain Lussier, Director Dan Trachtenberg proposes the movie’s ridiculous sudden change is “wish fulfilment” for viewers who walk out of theaters concocting possible what-if scenarios for a movie with a sudden ending.

Apparently, he feels moviegoers hop into their cars after seeing a claustrophobic horror film and say, “Yes, that was good, but what if there were fleshy aliens?”

Yes, a movie primarily happening in one close set, took the incredibly cheap decision of pointing directly in the face of the viewer, laughing and saying, “Haha, that one line where Harold predicts the attack was from Martians at the beginning of the movie was right.”

In the words of Michelle as she catches her first glimpse of an alien ship hovering across the horizon, “You gotta be kidding me.”