The film that launched the career of perpetual geek-writer Kevin Smith, Clerks is a heady, dialogue-driven farce about a day in the lives of two convenience store workers, and their various troubles and woes dealing with customers, with acquaintances, and each other. I can see how this was a career-launcher; the film has cult movie written all over it, especially with its ultra-low budget, black-and-white film stock, and a healthy mix of contempt and adoration of the modern day young adult culture.
There’s not much to the film itself to talk about; thanks to the low budget, everything was as stripped-down as possible to cut costs, so the film doesn’t exactly have stellar effort in the cinematography, or even the editing, which Smith himself has admitted was very rough initially. The one star of the film is without question the script, which bounces off itself and plays with both words and back-and-forth repartee with glee and fervor. It does fall into a few traps, like intentionally verbose word usage and a tendency for overblown dialogue, but it does a lot more things right, like recurring joke usage, which is a personal favorite of mine.
Smith would go on to elaborate further on his world views and mentalities in his future View Askew films; really, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, as multifaceted and varying in plot as they may be. Still, for a debut film, this does its job quite well, and that job is letting the world know what Smith can do as a filmmaker. There’s really not a whole lot else to the film other than that. If you haven’t seen it, you’re not missing much, but it’s a decent enough film for what it’s worth.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10