“10 Cloverfield Lane” opens wide across theaters today and movie fans are going to be in for lots of surprises. The film has been marketed with just the barest of details, and that secrecy plays into what makes this film work from director Dan Trachtenberg (his first big film).
Simply, it’s a story about a doomsday-prepper that has two unexpected guests join him in his bunker and then… something happens. Now, without giving away a beat of the film and spoiling your fun, is just how good John Goodman is in it. Is it too early to talk Oscar?
Like last year’s “Ex Machina” (now playing on Amazon) which was a small genre flick, “10 Cloverfield Lane” has that same vibe. Excellent story, pacing that keeps you literally on the edge of your seat, and a performance from it’s three main cast members that makes this small film jump off the screen.
Survivalist Howard (John Goodman) has built himself an impressive bunker that comes with just about everything, except a lady’s touch. Joining him in the bunker under suspicious circumstances is Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and a guy, Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) who says he remembers when Howard was building the place, and when things went weird, it was the first place he headed. The three team-up delivering a power-house performance headlined with no doubt, by Goodman.
Yes, it’s early but for what it’s worth John Goodman has never been nominated for an Oscar. That’s completely surprising since he’s starred in a ton of films with 143 credits listed on IMDB including “Trumbo,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Argo,” and so many more. This may in fact, play into him getting a nod, because like Leonardo DiCaprio, whom many thought past due, much can be said of the same for Goodman. Hopefully, later in the year when voters start thinking about what is worthy of an Oscar nomination, this film will still come to mind, because his performance will stay with me for a long time.
Alongside Goodman’s performance, is purposeful and excellently conceived directing from Dan Trachtenberg. His track record is pretty much non-existent in directing, but with this film, there is no doubt that if he isn’t headlining any major projects right now, he soon will be. His entire film, including the incredibly fresh sequence in the beginning, is one heart pounding ride, imagine driving down the wrong side of the freeway blind-folded. You are literally on the edge of your seat leaning forward, mouth agape from moment to moment.
In the contemporary film market, where almost everything feels like a re-boot, a sequel, or a plain ol’ rip off of something that came before, is “10 Cloverfield Lane” which feels fresh, smart and entirely thrilling. Is it a sequel to “Cloverfield?” I’m not saying.
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By: Dan Trachtenberg
Written By: Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, Damien Chazelle
In Theaters: Mar 11, 2016 Wide
Runtime: 1 hr. 45 min.
Bad Robot Productions