January 18, 2008
Writes Steve Biodrowski: "Cloverfield" is really quite an impressive achievement, considering how hard it would be for anyone to tell a coherent story as if it were told and seen entirely from the POV of an amateur cameraman.
Obviously, this can also be seen as a stunt, just as Hitchcock’s one continuous long take was seen as a stunt when he made "Rope" (in 1948). But even granting that, I think it’s a stunt that works not only well, but exceedes spectacularly.
Quite amazingly, director Matt Reeves and screenwriter Drew Goddard (working from an idea by producer J. J. Abrams) have brought this concept off extremely well, and have made it all come together. Obviously, they all did a great deal of painstaking work that was needed to make a professionally shot studio film look so incredibly spontaneous. In the press notes, director Reeves notes some of the limitations it placed on him as director: “It was an incredible readjustment because in trying to create the illusion of only one camera, you are working without the usual cinematic tools. So there is no big wide shot, no reverse shot to show the other person watching and listening. Everything you see and know comes from a single camera.”