This past Saturday, I knew I wanted to see a movie, but the Rock & Roll Marathon was in town so I knew hitting up a theater would be a little challenging. Luckily, I live fairly close to the Regal Cinema in Silver Spring, MD (although my favorite theater is the AMC Mazza Gallerie). Can I just say that the Regal is obnoxiously large? Like I felt like I could have a medical episode in there and nobody would find me for days.
Well the good news is that I did not die, even though 10 Cloverfield Lane very nearly killed me with suspense and glorious frights.
My friend and brother who runs AfterLobby gives this film an excellent review, and you should read his for a summary. I will reiterate that this is the kind of film you should see without any expectations. It is quite suspenseful and it worked better for me that I really had no idea what was going to happen next, except that the film allegedly happens in the universe of Cloverfield.
John Goodman was great–quite creepy. The other actors were great also–the cast was very small, which was necessary to the story.
If you were wondering when I was going to get to the lede, here it is, buried:
There were no black people.
Like I said, I really liked this movie. It was great. But it goes back to my initial point of writing these essays: why couldn’t any of these characters have been black? The film takes place in Louisiana! Not that there are no white people in Louisiana, but it seems to me that an all white cast in Vermont or Idaho could have been more forgivable. Why not give a black actor a chance? Why couldn’t that one random role (no spoilers) have been a black person?
This, to me, is the very definition of affirmative action. Why not make an affirmative casting decision in favor of a black actor, especially when the race of the character is not integral to the telling of the story? Why is whiteness the default setting? Are filmmakers afraid that blackness changes a story?
Is blackness itself a character? It doesn’t have to be.
Still, the movie was great. I just hope other movies within the genres I enjoy decide to intentionally cast people of color when the race is not a factor to the story.
Finally, I must lodge a disagreement with the aforementioned AfterLobby review. Sadly, since I don’t do spoilers, I can’t go into detail. Let’s just say that I very much believe there to be a connection (story-wise) between Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane. I don’t consider the latter to be a sequel. It’s more like a fellow short story in an anthology about the same overall topic. You won’t find Cloverfield’s monster, but I do think you see a monster from the same menagerie.
So yeah, liked it a lot, totally worth it, wish there was a black person in it, but I’ll get over it.