Time: 94 Minutes
Eileen Brennan as Mrs. Peacock
Tim Curry as Wadsworth
Madeline Kahn as Mrs. White
Christopher Lloyd as Professor Plum
Michael McKean as Mr. Green
Martin Mull as Colonel Mustard
Lesley Ann Warren as Miss Scarlet
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Six blackmail victims are invited to an isolated mansion by a man who knows a dark secret from each of their pasts. On arrival, each is given a pseudonym drawn from Cluedo before being introduced to the blackmailer. Each is handed a weapon, at which point the lights are switched off and the blackmailer is killed. Can the guests uncover the murderer before they all become victims?
I went into Clue fairly unsure of what to expect. All I heard was just that it was a whodunnit comedy based on the board game of the same name, and that it had something of a following. It ended up being one of the biggest surprises I had watching a movie.
A movie based on the board game Clue seems like a weird choice, because at that point it would pretty much just be a Clue themed whodunnit film, which it is. It takes the basic premise of the board game and goes wild with it, finding clever ways of linking details of the game into the movie including the prominent rooms and possible murder weapons. The plot is actually clever and well thought out, so while its not one of the best whodunnits of all time, its crafted decently. The dialogue is witty, sharp and quotable and it’s a hilarious movie, mixing 80s cheese with dark comedy and slapstick to great effect. The jokes almost always hit for me and there are plenty of details that I missed from my initial viewing; I think that it’ll be a fun movie to rewatch. particularly with people who haven’t seen it before. Something worth noting is that there are three separate endings, and when it was released in cinemas, whichever ending each screening received was completely random. However, most versions of the movie nowadays have all three endings and I like it for that. Clue is just over 90 minutes and they move at a fast pace, I had a lot of fun from beginning to end with never a dull moment.
The characters are all distinguishable and memorable, helped by the performances. The main cast with Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull and Lesley Ann Warren along the supporting cast are all great. This ensemble cast is fun to watch together, playing off each other well and having their own little ticks that make them unique. They all get their moments to shine but my personal favourite of the actors unsurprisingly is Tim Curry, who particularly stands out in the third act during the final reveals.
Jonathan Lynn’s direction is simple yet quite good and effective. The production values are strong, I liked the murder mystery party atmosphere and the spooky mansion. The editing and visuals for comedy is particularly done well.
All things considering, Clue was way better than it had any right to be. It’s hilarious, the cast are fantastic, it’s very well made, and I was thoroughly entertained throughout. It’s already become one of my favourite comedies and films, and one that I want to revisit multiple times over. I highly recommend watching it, especially if you go into it knowing as little as possible about it.