I will never process why 'Clerks' was filmed in black-and-white, although I can kind of see why. But to talk about the movie itself; it is definitely very funny and totally feels like it should be adapted to stage as a non-musical. Maybe I'll Tweet Kevin Smith right now.
The story is about nothing but it still manages to be funny, entertaining, and relatable.
Clerks delivered exactly what it promised. It is one of the most relaxed and simple comedy films I have ever seen which makes the experience such an easygoing one. Clerks is a film which deliberately ignores implementing any plot in solely so that it can pave the way for a script full of comedy, clever concepts and pop culture references. There is essentially no plot in the entire feature and that may annoy some, but the fact is that Clerks is an entirely different style of filmmaking to everything available in mainstream cinema and even in independent cinema. It is the original Kevin Smith film, the source of his entire career. And goddamn, it is a funny feature.
Clerks has no premise to it, but that is not of any importance at all. The screenplay intentionally ignores that because the premise is all about the characters and their views on the world and how they approach everything. It chronicles the annoyances of everyday life as a store clerk and exploration of Kevin Smithâ(TM)s view of pop culture. In comparison to essentially all of his other films, Clerks is an example of Kevin Smithâ(TM)s sense of humour, insight into life and taste in pop culture. It is all that more so than any of his other films, even if it lacks the plot of all his other features.
The production behind Clerks is brilliant. On an exceedingly low budget of a mere $27,575, Kevin Smith takes Clerks to excellent extents. Filming in his workplace at night time and working so extensively that he became sleep-deprived, his ambition to ensure that Clerks turned out like it did is exceptional. His dedication to the project would later be reflected in many of his other works, and Clerks shows how far he can go with so little money which is thoroughly impressive. The black and white colour palette is never bothersome, and rather it makes the experience more memorable simply by adding a sense of low budget quirks to it, as well as the fact that it most likely unintentionally reflects the black and white manner in which Dante Hicks sees the world. It is clear that Dante Hicks is a creation based on himself, but every character he implements into the script is brilliant in their own way. Clerks serves as the creation of Kevin Smithâ(TM)s career and a lot of great characters, including his most iconic, Jay and Silent Bob. While they are arguably the most commercial creation of the film, they serve as great assets to the film which is already rich with a versatile collection of characters. The screenplay in Clerks is truly a brilliant creation because the language in the film is so organic that it is extremely intelligent, and so when the humour leaks its way into the situtations it comes out of nowhere which just makes it all the more funny. The subject matter of the screenplay in Clerks is genuinely intelligent and does raise some interesting concepts about the perspective on life, and yet it is even more impressive simply because of how funny it is. Clerks is a very simple film made by amateurs, and the lack of an overall plot may be unwelcome to some who are not willing to let go of the notion for a while. But the screenplay in Clerks is packed with more than enough other comic situations and insight to bring justice to viewers, and it really makes for a hilarious ride.
And despite being packed with no-name actors, Clerks manages to incur some impressive acting talent.
Brian O'Halloran is ideal casting as Dante Hicks. The unknown actor has a real everyman feel to him, and considering that his character is one looked down upon simply as a store clerk, this means that he fits the profile. His reluctance and annoyance reflects something we have all felt at some time or another which makes him a sympathetic character. He is a likeable one who is dragged through many situations stemming from regular workplace annoyances to conflicts with close friends. Dante Hicks is clearly the character that Kevin Smith would most identify with, and he projects a spirited sense of life into the part which Brian O'Halloran takes and runs with, and be never deviates from a sense of realism or likability for a second.
But it is Jeff Anderson who dominates the screen. Easily the funniest actor in the film, Jeff Anderson is absolutely dead on with every line he delivers. There are many scenes here he says lines that are scripted so perfectly that they seem incredibly organic, and considering the level of comedy in his role, the fact that he makes it seen organic is incredible. Jeff Anderson interacts with every single cast member in Clerks hilariously well. He is always rich with comic energy and it is nothing but natural and easy the entire time. He reacts to the other cast members swiftly with intelligent timing and effortless charisma that is a rare sight in comedy films. For a man with so much screen time, Jeff Anderson makes himself the most memorable aspect of Clerks. He always hits the mark dead on without problem, and he works as a strong duo with Brian O'Halloran to establish Randal Graves as one of Kevin Smith's finest creations. Jeff Anderson leads Clerks through some hilarious scenes which are some of the most memorable in the film and never ends up skipping a beat.
And although his screen time is very brief, Jason Mewes makes his first of many appearances as his iconic character Jay. Teaming up with Kevin Smith to portray Jay and Silent Bob, Jason Mewes' obnoxious energy and love of swearing creates a small collection of memorable moments in Clerks. Serving as the one member of the Jay and Silent Bob duo who actually does much talking at all. He is so into the character that it is clearly him playing himself on some level, and considering the Clerks served as the first of many appearances as Jay, his presence is just awesome. Jay and Silent Bob are a gimmicky duo of characters, and Jason Mewes does his part excellently while Kevin zenith stands around and acts stoic with ease in the role of Silent Bob.
So due to its overt simplicity, Kevin Smith's showcase of hilariously iconic humour in play for the first time and a skilfully dedicated effort from an unknown cast, Clerks is a funny, original and well written film which stretches a simple premise without ever wearing thin.
Shot in grainy black and white with a trash rock soundtrack, Smith's film mixes grungy wallops of wisdom with downbeat comedy.
A catalogue of cyclical quips and retrospective put-downs plague Dante (Brian O'Halloran) in his social Inferno - a place we've all been, we all hated, but we all miss with a childlike charm.
Smith's script is always silly and sarcastic, yet never smarmy or didactic. His characterisation is so good, we feel as if we went to school with these kids. Somehow, Clerks captures wasted youth at its most hopeless, it's least pretentious and its most nostalgic all at once.