Finally, a Kevin Smith film! I’ve been meaning to get to a film of his for a while now, so I proudly present my review/analysis of Clerks! Since this film is minimalist (and that’s a large part of what makes it so great), I’m going to keep this review short so I don’t ramble on about things that don’t matter much.
First off, this film would be nothing if it were not for the dialogue. The conversations are what make this movie, as they range from life philosophy, which Star Wars sequel was better (Jedi or Empire), how to handle complicated relationships, and how we as human beings don’t follow the “golden rule” enough (treat others as you would like to be treated yourself). This film manages to pack in thousands of life lessons in just ninety-two minutes.
This movie really benefits from not having flashy cinematography. The scenarios the characters find themselves in are bizarre enough without being over-shadowed by intricate camera angles or fancy lighting. In the course of one day, Dante deals with an angry mob, goes to a funeral, finds out a man died in the store bathroom, gets dumped by his girlfriend, and that’s not even all. The movie more than makes up what it lacked in expensive equipment with a great story.
While all of this is true, this is not to say Kevin Smith and the rest of the crew didn’t try to include any visual elements to the film. Most of the shots and lighting are pretty standard and realistic considering the setting, while there are other shots that are pretty interesting. For instance, who could forget Jay dancing outside the store? Shots like this may not be common, but they are well placed and keep the film visually entertaining to make sure the movie doesn’t get bogged down with too much dialogue.
This film may not have been considered Oscar-worthy, but it deserves the awards it received at the Cannes Film Festival and its status as a cult-classic. If a film can manage to explore so many of life’s questions in an hour and a half and still make me laugh, then my only question is why I didn’t review it sooner.