10 Cloverfield Lane
A girl gets in an accident. She wakes up in a bunker with creepy John Goodman. He says there’s been an attack and they can’t leave. Can she trust him? I mean, he only had her chained to a pole…
So the premise of 10 Cloverfield Lane allows for a “bottle” story which sees three people stuck inside the bunker trying to survive and ascertain the truth of what happened, if anything did. The atmosphere is tense and uncertain throughout, which is exactly what it needs to be. And lets face it, most of the reason for that is Goodman’s performance. He’s as great as he usually tends to be. Its an effective thriller, but not without its flaws, which I can’t really go into without spoilers, so…
So I guess the balance of this movie is what seems a little off. The majority of the film deals with whether or not Howard is lying and whether he can be trusted (as much as someone so paranoid as to build a massive bunker system can be I suppose). And this sustains the movie up until the last… fifth or so when Michelle makes it out, and suddenly she’s smack dab in the middle of an alien takeover.
Now, I don’t have a problem with this, but like I said the balance seems off. I think if she escaped sooner so that maybe the whole final act was escaping the alien ship, that’s one thing. But it seemed like the running time inside the bunker went for so long, they sort of passed the point of no return and maybe should have just stuck to the bunker for the whole movie.
Yet, I’m not sure I would have liked that either. I was impatiently eager to see what actually was happening outside, and likely would have disappointed had they not shown it. I’m just saying that the amount of time spent underground and above seemed off kilter.
Also, I felt like that decision she made in the end felt like a really tacked on character motivation piece that wasn’t entirely earned. Yes she told that story about her running instead of helping, but nothing she did since kept that character idea in our heads until the very end.
*End of Spoilers
10 Cloverfield Lane is well acted and mostly engaging (with a few slow parts here and there as most bottle stories do).. There are some story balance issues, but they are easy to look past for a simple, entertaining watch.