When Michelle, an accident victim wakes up chained to
a wall and Howard, her captor provides her with all the essentials for survival
but no fresh air, the restrictive dinginess is like revisiting last year’s
Oscar nomination Room. Except that
here her captor asks for no sexual favours, she’s got another normal-seeming
victim called Emmet for company and she’s told they have to stay in this
Doomsday Bunker because extra-terrestrial aliens have contaminated the air
outside. There are no survivors out there and it’s safest down here.
It’s an edgy psychological thriller and there’s enough
tension and menace in the air to keep you wondering, what does Howard want from
Michelle? But after the initial tautness and mystery, once there’s a killing
and blood and escape, surprise, surprise, the story segues into implausible
sci-fi fiction. Therefore, unlike Room
where your heart went out to the young captive and her 5-year-old son in a
straight, scary story of a demented kidnapper, 10, Cloverfield Lane mixes two kinds of films and leaves you
feeling dissatisfied. It goes from a nail-biting, what’s-going-to-happen-next
thriller to a far-fetched mess of sci-fi and special effects, thereby not
staying true to either genre. Honestly, I don’t know why this film has minted so
much at the box-office in the US.
It really doesn’t matter that Mary Elizabeth Winstead
as Michelle or John Goodman as Howard are good are what they do. Because once
the storywriters and director Dan Trachtenberg move into a different kind of attack
outside, the impact of what happened in the bunker gets diluted.
For going from psychology to fantasy, 10 Cloverfield Lane gets a
disappointing 2.5* rating.
Bharathi S Pradhan
Senior Journalist & Author