I’m sitting here with my sore, demolished foot when I should be writing a movie review. Well, I am writing one, or trying to write one. How does one go about ranking, rating or writing a review of a movie? For one thing, for your opinion to have any credibility, you must watch the entire movie and try to be objective about it. Those people who haughtily walked out halfway through The Hateful Eight and then tried to render opinions of the movie are dismissed with a wave of my hand. Well, I did watch 10 Cloverfield Lane, and I watched all of it, so what is my point? I will get to that later in the review.
10 Cloverfield Lane was a well-made thriller/horror movie starring the legendary John Goodman, who is one of my favorite actors. The movie had garnered pretty strong reviews, so I was quite encouraged by this and anticipated watching this movie. This review will contain spoilers, and I don’t care, and for good reason, so please be advised. I will try to reserve the major spoilers for the end of the review.
Michelle was unhappy with her relationship, so she ran from it. We didn’t know where she was going, but she was driving furiously away until her life was forever changed by a serious car accident. When she awoke she was in an unfamiliar tomb-like underground bunker, and injured and terrified. After trying to escape, she learned from her captor/savior, Howard that there had been an invasion, an attack, and that the world above had been forever compromised and changed. Michelle was not convinced, but every bit of evidence, including the testimony of the other resident of their shelter, Emmet, pointed to the conclusion that Howard was telling the truth. Something, however, just did not seem right.
Howard’s shelter was every survivalists wet dream. He had been planning this for a long time and the place was stocked with everything needed for waiting out a long siege. This is where 90% of the movie was staged and where the drama and questions began. The survival shelter was at the very best, cramped and claustrophobic. What was really happening to the world outside the shelter? Was Howard a savior or some sort of monster? Michell slowly uncovers subtle clues that pointed to different conclusions. The drama and uncertainty continued to build as the days or perhaps even weeks passed.
John Goodman ruled this film with his powerhouse performance. This was his finest acting since Barton Fink. He was a huge and dominating presence in a small, cramped space, and he was so believable as a fatherly protector. He was so very convincing, yet so very creepy at the same time, that you thought you were watching two actors at once. Mary Elizabeth Winstead was also totally convincing as Michelle. She was terrified, but she was a thinker and a fighter, and she knew that something was amiss, in spite of the corroborating stories of Howard and Emmet. The tension builds and builds until that incredible moment in the bathroom. I will not spoil that scene here.
The Ending -and- *Major Spoilers*
Oh, boy. I’ve read where some actually defended the ending. “It kept us in suspense”… “It was a surprise, a twist”. Well, a pot of boiling chum over my head at the end of the movie would have been a surprise too. Until the last 5 minutes I thought I was watching one of the best movies ever. I mean, John Goodman! But, never in the history of movie-making has an ending so destroyed a movie. I was cursing so loudly that I thought that the movie elves were going to call the police. Certain victory was fed into the jaws of defeat for the sake a couple of minutes of cheesy Sci-Fi. Just dammit to hell, I was pissed.
Dear moviemakers: If you are going to make a horror drama, make a horror drama. If you are going to make some ridiculous Sci-Fi, do that, but don’t try to do both, especially if you are dealing with a superstar like John Goodman.
If you must watch this movie, please do yourself a favor. After Michelle escapes from the bunker and looks up at the sky and sees the ducks, drop your popcorn, grab your coat and purse, and run, don’t walk from the theater. You will thank me. What follows is the most ridiculous collection of plot-holes and horrible Sci-Fi ever. It is indefensible and a travesty. At the end, the viewer is jerked around, and out of what was a thrilling and totally immersing drama, and into a movie that would have been laughable if it had not been so pathetic. O.K., that is it, you have been warned.
Special Ruthless Ratings
- I haven’t seen “All is Lost” with Robert Redford, but if the ending is as much of a disappointment as the ending in 10 Cloverfield Lane, and I’ll take Matt Cale’s word for it, then I don’t want to see it.