Clerks (1994) 2.71/5 (1)
2.71/51

 

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Rating: The Good – 82.4
Genre: Comedy
Duration: 92 mins
Director: Kevin Smith
Stars: Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti

Clerks has gone down in history as one of the definitive independent classics and like all such classics, it broadened our concept of what cinema is all about. Inspired by Richard Linklater’s underground hit Slacker, Kevin Smith’s debut feature was made on a shoe-string budget in the store where he worked with non-actors playing the majority of roles. The result is a deeply engaging and constantly hilarious snapshot of the day in the lives of the twenty somethings who work in or hang around the convenience store. This may be the film which introduced us to Jay and Silent Bob but it’s all about the wonderfully inane back-and-forths shared between Brian O’Halloran as the world-weary Dante Hicks and the truly brilliant Jeff Anderson as his layabout best friend Randal. Spaced around a number of timely and inspired vignettes involving everyone from an undercover chewing gum rep to an old geezer with a penchant for racy magazines, Dante and Randal’s discussions carry us unerringly through this movie with side-splitting laughter and resonance.

It’s not easy to do but Kevin Smith balances the wild and outrageous with the real and the mundane like the best writers (film or otherwise) have always done. His decision to channel the former through Randal and the latter through Dante pays off massively in this respect but by binding the two characters in a solid and believable friendship, Smith fuses the two worlds seamlessly. This is the essence of character construction realised expertly through the talents of a man who was, at the time, an industry fledgling. Make no mistake, O’Halloran and Anderson (in particular) contribute strongly with perceptive turns but the quality of their performances is clearly attributable to them buying into what Smith is selling. And that too is a sign of a great film-maker: to get the cast to go along with even the most experimental of projects.

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