Director Matt Reeves, with only a few titles (Let Me In; Dawn of the Planet of Apes) under his name has proved to be an important director. How does one prove to be important, as an auteur, takes focus and heart, and as well as an artistic passion for the medium that is film. Reeves’ focus is dark, elegiac in nature. Perhaps it is this raw taste that makes the filmmaker, in my opinion, an important name. Cloverfield was released back in 2008 during the month of January. One chilly evening, I stepped into a dark auditorium, a packed-house, where teenagers, most of them were all eager to see what truly was Cloverfield. Honestly, I was as inquisitive as every single soul. Prior to the film’s opening nationwide, my eyes were glued to the computer screen day and night, to comprehend the clues. The marketing team behind the film, I must say, salute to all of them. That was an effective viral marketing.
But what is it that makes Cloverfield so raw and powerful? Before I dive into details on that, I would like to express the most essential factor when it comes to the film, the cast members. Matt Reeves and his best friend, partner in crime, J.J. Abrams, aimed for not too well-known actors. That’s what makes the film, in its heart, cogent in nature. Audiences are not looking for big-named movie stars to push the film, its plot forward and keep it interesting. Instead, it’s the plot, simple, yet effective, that keeps the viewers on the edges of their seats. We move ahead, along with the chaotic world of Reeves, with the goosebumps, the fear, apprehension, and still eager to look clearly at the monster once, who seems lost. Too big, and too powerful that crashes anything and anyone that stands in front of him. Not sure if it’s accurate, I heard somewhere that the monster was a baby whom was simply in search for the water.
Whatever the reason behind the monster’s existence on the surface, he for sure brings tragedies to mind that took place on 9/11. Does the film dare to pick up the subject of politics and terrorism? The answer to the question is, perhaps, depends on who you ask. But if one is to ask me, the answer is a yes. Cloverfield, the way I look at it, and one of the reasons why it is an important monster film, is that one can consider it a lid or a door, perhaps, that underneath its nuts and bolts, it has the hidden rage that we all have kept locked deep inside of our chests. None of us will ever forget the fall of the twin towers and the lives of the three thousand innocent souls that were lost. Cloverfield, the sweet monster, is angry like us all. He is hurt, but still powerful, that can stand tall, as any skyscraper, and roar. Speaking of the term ‘roar’, if one has noticed, the end credit of the film has a terrific theme dedicated to the film, which is simply known as ROAR!. Thanks to Michael Giacchino’s masterful compose. Tragic it is, as much as magical. Just like the film.
Cloverfied is the paragon of pure excellence when it comes to a true monster film. Shot and captured powerfully—the Handycam aesthetic to it, initially, what Matt Reeves found was fun-filmmaking, according to the DVD commentary. It has brought the senses of realism to the idea—the concept of the film. Some have questioned as to why the camera never breaks. The camera is the true star of the film. If the hero breaks in the first, second and even in the third act, in its conclusion, although it is a monster movie, that would have been a colossal failure. Reeves’ vision has kept the film dark, realistic, achieved as an edge of your seat thriller, often paying homage to the classic Japanese monster films and even to Alfred Hitchcock’s timeless classic, The Birds (1963). Reeves absolutely understands suspense as well as the thrill and the cinematic language.