So last night the husband and I watched 10 Cloverfield Lane, which we liked a lot more than we expected to.
My thoughts, in no particular order … (spoilers below!):
- One nice, subtle thing was that, if you’re aware of Cloverfield, then just knowing the title of this movie skews the premise–because usually in this sort of film, we’d be exactly as skeptical of Howard’s claims as Michelle is, but because we’ve seen Cloverfield, everything he’s saying is possibly true. So every time she goes upstairs or into the air shaft, the tension is doubled because we don’t know if we should be cheering for her to get out or telling her to stay where she is, because what’s worse?
- I will say, this probably affected my feelings on the ending (which, honestly, I didn’t know was a Thing online), because I was expecting Howard to be at least partially right.
- It reminded me of Mad Max: Fury Road in some related ways.
- First, this is how you get someone like Immortan Joe. The apocalypse hits and some guy takes it as a reason/excuse to set up his own little kingdom and choose his own little queen/princess.
- Second, Howard does not touch Michelle very often (though when he does, it tends to be violently), but we always know that the possibility of rape is there … but it doesn’t happen. (He has such issues thinking of her as a grown woman, but there are enough hints that I don’t think you can discount the idea that thinking of her as a little girl–or his little girl–wouldn’t keep him from raping her eventually, once they’re alone.) Much like how we know the Wives have been repeatedly raped, but we don’t see it onscreen.
- There’s no romance between Michelle and Emmett. The little bit of flirting that happens is Michelle’s way of manipulating Howard to get to his keys (and she knows just how to do it, which I also thought was a nice touch). They’re set up so much to be read like siblings, which if course makes that last scene where Emmett takes the blame for their plans (like her actual brother always did) work really well.
- I loved the resourcefulness of Michelle, and her character growth–which was maybe the most obvious thing in the movie, but I liked that it was a clear arc. I also liked that panicking and running away did serve her well here and there.
- I liked this film for lots of the same reasons I liked Signs–we see so many Independence Day type movies, where we follow the world leaders and the military as they race to save the world, but these movies are more intimate. People in the big movies get reduced to crowds in cities staring up at the giant space ship and then running away from the fire, but what about the people who live in small towns and places where maybe the invasion isn’t right over their heads … yet? And it helped that in both movies, I can see people reacting in these ways.
- Really, really good performances. John Goodman is awesome. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is one of my favorites. John Gallagher, Jr. was great. I dug the whole thing.