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Cloverfield

Plot overview: A New York twenty-somethings leaving-party gets ruined by a giant monster that attacks Manhattan. As the ground shakes, people go onto the street, chaos ensues, buildings get flattened, lives are lost and the Statue of Liberty becomes detached from her head. Some of the initial scenes that depict building destruction may be too close to 9/11 for comfort.

The military drop in - and admit that they're losing. In the meantime, ordinary people are running very quickly to get out of Manhattan before things get nastier. The central group of four that we're introduced to during the party mount a rescue operation for a girlfriend, and as the chaos unravels it's all caught on a shaky handycam - and boy, is it shaky. If you suffer from motion-sickness, this is probably going to make you feel ill.

Who's in it?: I'm not good with names and faces, but the cast list did look like a list of relative unknowns - and for a film such as this, that was a good thing. You won't be distracted by a big name attempting some heroics or something out of character. Why the monster is here, you don't know - but that's not the point. The film is about ordinary people trying to escape a major disaster, but despite its subject matter it will still amuse. Indeed, as we learn more about the guy who spends the majority of his time holding the camera, we find that despite the awful situation the group face, things can still be funny. I found myself chuckling occasionally - and that's not because I'm some sick puppy.

Is it any good?: The first twenty or so minutes act as a fairly pedestrian introduction to the characters that you'll be following, whereas when the action hits, it's relentless and doesn't give up right up to the end. Whilst the film is actually just under an hour and a half long, you'll feel like you've sat in on something that's more like 2+ hours. Keeping up with the action will make you feel tired with all that's going on - and there's a lot going on.

On another note, the film seems to tease you with regards to how much of the monster it shows. Initially you might just see a bit of leg, then a bit more - until you get to the full sight of the beast at the end. Only then do you start to realise the full scale of the thing - it's huge.

Should I go and see it?: Oh yes, you should. This is the sort of stuff that cinema is for - and you might just drop your popcorn every so often. The film appears to be a cludge between Gozilla, Blair Witch, Alien and Independance Day, but possibly I'm doing the movie a big injustice by saying that because retrospectively, The Blair Witch Project got on my nerves. This certainly didn't - and I might even go and see it again. (4/5)

Other reviews: Here, here and here.
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