Film Review: "Clerks" (1994)

Posted by prla1983 on August 03, 2006 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

Like many others, I believe, I got hold of the original 1994 "Clerks" because of the recently release sequel. What I found in this first installment is a good, authentic, sometimes quirky, sometimes hilarious comedy which I think we should take a bit more seriously that it takes itself.

Despite being shot pretty much in its entirety in the same two basic settings - a convenience store and a video rental store - "Clerks" manages not to get stale as it progresses because Kevin Smith is inventive in the way he shoots. The fact that this movie was done in a real life setting, where Kevin Smith actually worked at the time, lends it a lot of authenticity. The dialogue contributes for that and even the grainy amateurish black and white picture helps it.

According to Smith - who has this brilliant little role as an actor himself - this was meant to be the proverbial "movie about nothing", with a lot of F-word jokes. In theory, and then in practice, this kind of sounds like an R rated version of Seinfeld. Instead of Seinfeld's place and the coffee shop you have both stores, the relationship problems are also ever present even if in a much more earthly fashion. The real difference is that you get a lot of cursing. Other than that, it's just a day in the life of these two guys running two rusty little stores in Central Jersey.

Dante is the main character and his day shouldn't have gone down this way in the first place. He's just covering for a colleague at the store and all hell breaks loose throughout the day. Who really steals the movie for me is Randal, his partner at the video rental store right next door, with his acid view of life. The way he messes up with the head of all his costumers - including Dante's - is brilliant and funny. Nevermind if he should act like he does.

The dialogue ranges from fascinating to downright boring sometimes and it's definitely Tarantinoesque when at its best. It does suffer a bit on the acting department, which could have benefited from being a little more natural - seems rushed some of the time - but overall it's a great insight into the minds and state of affairs of Generation X America of mid 90s.

Which leads me to ask, where are we now? Maybe "Clerks II" will answer that, but I haven't seen it yet as I write this.


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