When a film is released with next to no warning or hype, it means one of two things: a car crash is being cleaned up before too many people see it, or the finished film is so good it will grab attention however it’s released. Thankfully, The Cloverfield Paradox falls much closer to the latter.
Closing the normal wait between trailer and film from 12 months to half a Superbowl, The Cloverfield Paradox is the perfect film with which to test such a bold release strategy. Not only has an unconventional formula been established within this unique franchise, but the content of the film is equally unpredictable, delighting in the lack of hype to throw out big and bold ideas.
The narrative bursts through the seams of the previous two Cloverfield films in a manner reminiscent of the most thrilling improvisational comedy. The logic is flimsy once you take a step back, but in the middle of the action, everything has a delirious and undeniable ring of truth. There’s a fine line between insanity and genius and never has that been more true than in this kind of ambitious, thought-provoking sci-fi.
The ensemble cast are strong, with standout comedic and dramatic performances from Chris O’Dowd and Gugu Mbatha-Raw respectively. Her character Hamilton starts the film as a quiet, wounded presence but grows with every passing catastrophe until she hits a glorious, heart-wrenching peak.
Director Julius Onah does some astonishing work considering this is only his second feature, nailing several heart-stopping moments and crafting some inventive, expressive visuals with the aid of DoP Dan Mindel.
Throw the most exciting sci-fi films of the last decade into a blender and you’d end up with something like The Cloverfield Paradox: a thrilling, mind-bending, ramshackle sci-fi that’s very easy to admire, and maybe even love.
CAST: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O’Dowd, Daniel Brühl, David Oyelowo, Ziyi Zhang, Elizabeth Debicki
DIRECTOR: Julius Onah
WRITERS: Oren Uziel (story and screenplay), Doug Jung (story)
SYNOPSIS: Orbiting a planet on the brink of war, scientists test a device to solve an energy crisis, and end up face-to-face with a dark alternate reality.