06th Feb2018

‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O’Dowd, Daniel Brühl, David Oyelowo, Elizabeth Debicki, Ziyi Zhang, Roger Davies, Aksel Hennie | Written by Oren Uziel, Doug Jung | Directed by Julius Onah

cloverfield-paradox-poster

Cloverfield movies are becoming something of an event for film fans. While the first film was an okay found footage style monster movie full of mystery, it was 10 Cloverfield Lane that truly made an impact. How was the surprise of that film topped? Through running the trailer for the third film, The Cloverfield Paradox then making it available on Netflix.

Just as 10 Cloverfield Lane takes things down to a more minimalistic level, The Cloverfield Paradox does so again, but teases an origin to the main mystery of where the monsters came from. Featuring scientists from all over the world, they have come together on a space station to test a device that will solve the energy crisis. When they finally get it working though they cause an overload that has dangerous ramifications not only in our realities but others too.

The problem with The Cloverfield Paradox is that the hype surrounding it means the film has to live up to high levels of expectation. Exactly what fans were expecting though may be debatable. When we have the huge monsters of the first film, and the human horror of the second, what exactly can The Cloverfield Paradox actually deliver? Maybe that is part of the paradox itself.

What we are actually provided with in The Cloverfield Paradox is a minimalist story that in many ways wants to be compared to The Thing, or Alien, while at the same time not wanting to take the route of being just another monster movie. What we are given instead is a tale of paranoia and reality bending life stories where the clued-in audience know monsters are walking the earth, but to the people on the space station, they are fighting to get home and stop the reality altering events.

I’ll admit I’m a fan of movies that don’t follow expected rules, and The Cloverfield Paradox is definitely one of them. We aren’t spoon-fed what is going on, but the clues are there when you take notice. The reasoning for the monster from the first film is even revealed at the start of the film, if you listen closely. That is what this movie is about in many ways, it is about giving answers to what Cloverfield actually is.

For a movie that could be described (essentially) as “straight to DVD” that cast is impressive, especially the performance given by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who plays Hamilton, the main character. Others including Chris O’Dowd, Daniel Brühl, David Oyelowo, and Elizabeth Debicki, put in performances that pull the audience into a world that is pretty farfetched, and at times confusing. Just wait for O’Dowd’s arm for an example of that.

There are moments that will confuse the audience in The Cloverfield Paradox, and there are also some points that will raise questions. An example of this has to be just what is this movie set? The space station feels to be set in the future, while the first film didn’t have a feel of that, the same with 10 Cloverfield Lane. This is just one of the questions that are raised.

Looking at if The Cloverfield Paradox is a “good movie” depends on what you want from it. If you expected a mind-blowing experience that will help Netflix change the face of film distribution, then this is not it. If you want a movie that finally reveals the truth of what Cloverfield is, and provides possibilities for more movies, then it succeeds. In the end, it is a good movie that came out of nowhere, and in this day and age, it feels good to be surprised.

****½  4.5/5

The Cloverfield Paradox is available on Netflix now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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