100 Cloverfield Lane – GO SEE THIS MOVIE

I am going to keep this review rather short because I have a lot of things to say about this film and a spoiler free review may not be the best format.  So, here it goes.  Go see 100 Cloverfield Lane.  I know it came out almost a year ago, and I’m sure many of you have already seen it.  If you have, go see it again.  Because this film is great.  It is surprising, complex, entertaining, thrilling, fully realized, and tense.  It demands attention.

Onto the basics; the film is directed by first time director Dan Trachtenberg (director of the wonderful short film Portal), written by the brilliant Damien Chizelle (director of Whiplash and La La Land and writer of Grand Piano), and produced by the ubiquitous J.J.Abrams (Felicity).  Trachtenberg really proves himself to be a talent to watch for in the upcoming years.  He was originally attached to adapt the comic Y: The Last Man, which is one of my favorite comic series, and I can understand why he, as a first time director, would have been entrusted with that material.  His handle of space and tone is incredible.  The film takes place mostly in a bunker, and the setting never feels stale, and he ratchets up the tension by emphasizing the characters’ inescapable situation and the claustrophobia.  Trachtenberg has crafted a taught thriller the feels original and fresh.  He also is able to pull great performances out of his three leads.

The film stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), who is riveting from the very first scene.  She may be one of the most underrated actresses of her generation, so I am happy to see her get praise and recognized for her role and that people actually went to see a movie of hers.  She presents her character through her reactions and actions, making a hero we root for, empathize with, and are scared for her own safety and survival. I really hope she gets more high-profile roles because of this film.  John Gallagher Jr. (Short Term 12) co-stars and he brings a lot of needed humor and warmth to the proceedings.  Without his character, this film would be overly serious.  The always amazing John Goodman (anything and everything, this dude is perfect) plays the is he/isn’t he villain/hero/mystery man of the film.  All three leads command the screen and I really wish Goodman was nominated for every award in this film.  Just through a stare he creates such menace.

And the plot of the story is three people are trapped in a bunker because of something, possibly the end of the world war, or something else, prevents them from surviving on the surface.  Then shit gets real.  And that’s all I’m going to say because this film is full of surprises and it’s so hard to discuss it without going into details and spoilers.  It’s a perfect Die Hard type film that is well orchestrated and acted.

This was one of the movies I saw on a flight during my recent trip to Spain, and I need to see it again.  Even on the plane I was tensed during some scenes and I want to hear the wonderful sound design through proper speakers and investigate the little set design details and the latter part of the film in better quality on a bigger screen.  Plus this film is just so damn entertaining I want to see it again just for fun.  100 Cloverfield Lane. GO SEE THIS MOVIE.

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