I'm pleased to report that I found this to be a cracker!
One proviso, though. If
anyone remembers the equally enjoyable 'Cloverfield' of 2008, it would
be better to ditch any thought that this might be some kind of sequel. Anticipating a connection between that film and this is unhelpful, and if there is one it's only tangential.
Elizabeth Winstead plays a young woman driving alone when she's
involved in a car crash. She wakes up to find herself apparently a
prisoner in a sparsely furnished locked room, chained to a wall, and
with a medical drip attached to her injured body.
her 'gaoler' (John Goodman) arrives with some food for her, he explains
that he's saved her life by bringing her down to his underground
residence as the air above has been contaminated and that there is no
one left alive. How and why this came about is left rather vague
(warfare? accident? aliens?). She finds the story hard to believe and
doesn't trust him, thinking that he's made up a pretext for keeping her
imprisoned with him, despite his assuring her that he's no 'pervert'.
She then discovers that she's not the only one being detained. In
another room is a young man of similar age (John Gallagher Jnr) who's
been here for several days and been fed the same story, which he seems
to accept more readily than she does. They are both shortly given free
access to the rest of his subterranean abode where they have meals
together, though they both have to spend periods alone in their
respective quarters behind locked doors. Otherwise, all doors and
windows to the outside world are bolted and sealed. Goodman remains disappointed by her sceptical attitude to his being her 'saviour' and her continuing desire to be released.
first I found John Goodman in the role not so easy to take - his
considerable backwork of memorable characters (quite often funny) in previous films
always leaving a deep impression, no matter how weighty or short his
appearance is. But soon I found him exuding the true menace and
ambiguity that this character requires - a dormant volcano which can
erupt spectacularly at any time, and does. He's terrific here! The other
two actors, not yet having anything like the same body of work to their
credit, are both very good too.
this claustrophobic setting there are some truly nail-biting sequences
with the tension ratcheted up to max in most effective manner. If there
were one or two 'clunky' bits they didn't detract from the effectiveness
of the whole. (Why do so many women have their ear-rings drop off in
the most 'convenient' places?)
final slice of the film may well be regarded as not quite as satisfying
as all that went before - it certainly lets rip with being 'wild'! -
but it rounds off the film fairly well, and at least it gives a sort of
reason as to why the Goodman figure was keeping these two captive, even
though on reflection it raises rather more questions than it answers.
Director Dan Trachtenberg (his first full-length directing feature here?) is a name to look out for on this evidence.
Overall, it's good, taut, escapist fun. I enjoyed it and can heartily recommend...................7.5
25 minutes ago
For some reason I didnt fancy this .probably because I loved cloverfield so muchReplyDelete
But thanks to you, i will now go and see it
As one who liked 'Cloverfield' too I reckon this will be right up your street, J.G. The style is similar, though here achieved with a very small cast. Do go and enjoy!Delete
I hadn't seen Cloverfield but this one sparked my interest.ReplyDelete
And so does your review. It's going on the list!
If you like this, Bob, you may well like to catch up on 'Cloverfield' even though they have only a tiny bit more in common than both having that word in their title - a word, incidentally, which originally was not going to appear in this new release. Nevertheless, two good films.Delete
I saw someone else give this a 7 also. I have to think though will the film play on my mind before I add it to the list to see.ReplyDelete
I can't deny that there are elements of it which might haunt the mind, Sol, though this might be redeemed in part by the film's final section. But I do know what you mean. Trouble is I can never tell in advance which film is going to stay mentally with me in an unpleasant way.Delete
Thank you for your review. I will make up my mind soon. I did plan on seeing this, and I enjoy John Goodman greatly. Over here, I feel people see him still as a small television actor in sitcoms. He definitely has a great range as an actor. I will be excited to see this.ReplyDelete
I must be one of the few who have never seen Goodman on TV, M.M. My experience is having seen him in quite a number of films where he is often cast as a slightly whimsical, off-centre, faintly ludicrous character. But after I'd got over that obstacle on his first appearance here is certainly is scary - made moreso with all that bulk he carries around. It's the best I've ever seen him in a dramatic role.Delete
This sounds interesting, Ray. It is coming to my local cinema so i shall certainly go and see it if it has the Raybeard stamp of approval. Plus John Goodman is in it. I think Goodman is an amazing actor, he has such presence and as Mistress Maddie (love the name!) says, great range. He is equally convincing as a blood-freezing villain or a cuddly comic.ReplyDelete
Judith, Goodman here drops any semblance of being a 'gentle giant' which some might have expected. He's like a powder keg which could explode at the slightest touch - and if the fuse has been lit we don't know how long it is. Just one example - on one of his early experiences he tells the other two not to do a certain thing which they might inadvertently do in a moment of carelessness.Delete
That casual prohibition had me on edge every time they were in a position where it might unintentionally happen. Just one effective touch in an above-average film.
I thought this was one firecracker of a film. All three actors were exceptional. The screenwriters won an Oscar for Whiplash so they know what they're doing. I see it getting maybe 6 or 7 nominations.ReplyDelete
I'm ever so pleased that you appreciated it too, Dave. I didn't know about the 'Whiplash' connection - another superior film. I do hope it gets at least some nominations which it deserves, though I do think they shot themselves in the foot somewhat by giving the film this title, which rather gives away a big 'twist' in it. I read that it wasn't originally going to make any reference at all to that earlier, also very good, film.ReplyDelete