Monday, January 21, 2008

Cloverfield: on the problem of evil

This last Saturday I went to the movies with a friend. We saw the new motion picture "Cloverfield." It's very different from what you might expect from big budget monster movies. The camera work is constantly unsettling. There is no music score. The actors are not recognizable. It was anything but a typical adventure movie.

What was especially interesting though was the perspective of the film. It never offered a panoramic view of the whole city of Manhattan. It never offered establishing shots, wide angle pull backs or explanatory views that helped you make sense of what you saw. Since it was, supposedly, shot only from the camcorder of a character in the film, the movie only offered the view of the drama unfolding that the character himself would have while experiencing the events. Like I told some friends afterward, image someone making a film that was half "Godzilla" and half "The Blair Witch Project."

I'm writing a paper for a class reviewing this film from a theological point of view, and I'll not redundantly offer all of that analysis here. Suffice it to say, that the film, if the monster is allowed to personify "evil," seems to give a perspective of the problem of evil in the world from those who have not, by faith, accepted a biblical explanation for the existence of evil in the world.

In the film, the characters never get an explanation for the appearance of the monster, never see the big picture as to what is the full scope of its threat, can't hide from it, are pursued by it into every nook and cranny of the city, and have almost no hope of escape. This seems to parallel a lost view of evil in the world, even to the extent that evil is a monster (outside of me, not inside of me). The film, through a theological lens, is a view of the world broken and rampaged by sin, without the luxury of any explanation for its presence. It is, in essence, the experience of the lost. Seen from this perspective, such a story can heighten one's passion for reaching lost people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, I recommend you see it this weekend.

No comments: