Thursday, January 31, 2008

Why We Deserve (and Cheer on)
the Big, Bad Monster on Rampage

Gabriel McKee of SF Gospel has some good reading for us in his review of CLOVERFIELD (which also touches on a Gamera film):

Cloverfield, shot in shaky, first-person video, is all about human impact. But what is the sin for which the monster is punishment? In a word, it's self-absorption: the characters in this film search for cell phone chargers while the world falls down around them. In one key scene -- which appears in the trailer -- the monster hurls the head of the Statue of Liberty, which crashes down a few feet from the POV camera. Within seconds, people have lined up in front of it to take pictures with their cell phones. They're distanced from what's happening around them, oblivious to what it really means. Many reviewers have made the obvious connection to 9/11, and it's certainly true that the monster's initial rampage eerily evokes that day's images. But there's a deeper level to it. At one point, the characters are caught in the middle of a firefight between the monster and a National Guard regiment. Make no mistake: this is a movie about the invisibility of the Iraq war. We live oblivious to the reality of war, and in Cloverfield that chicken comes home to roost. We deserve it, the film says, because it's already happening and we pretend it isn't. Late in the film one character exclaims, "I don't know why this is happening," and that very obliviousness is the reflexive cause.

Read it all at Religion Dispatches.

I will not be seeing it. At least not on the big screen. I skipped Blair Witch for the reputed nausea-inducing shaky camera work. And reviews for CLOVERFIELD all mention the same dizzying technique. Me and my easily queased up innards have to bypass this show. Maybe it'll be less retch-inducing on DVD.

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