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Clerks Movie Review

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Clerks is a promising first film by Kevin Smith about a clerk in a convenience store and a clerk in a video store. It's everything a first film should be: funny, fresh, and original. It was shot in black and white on a budget of $27,000, and its gritty, cinema-verite quality made it seem almost like a slice-of-life documentary rather than the scripted fiction film it really was. Reportedly, preview audiences were so caught up in the lives of the two central characters that they responded negatively when one of them was shown being killed on duty. So the ending was re-shot, a wise choice, because to have turned an 88-minute comedy into an 89-minute tragedy at the last minute wouldn't have worked without some premonitory sequences—which wouldn't have worked, either, because of the scrappy, upbeat tone overall. When Smith made Mallrats a year later, the same critics who lionized Clerks beyond recognition jumped down hard on the filmmaker's second effort. Smith's Chasing Amy, his third picture, drew rave reviews.

1994 (R) 89m/B Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Lisa Spoonhauer, Jason Mewes; Cameos: Kevin Smith; D: Kevin Smith; W: Kevin Smith; C: David Klein; M: Scott Angley. Sundance Film Festival ‘94: Filmmakers Trophy; Nominations: Independent Spirit Awards ‘95: Best First Feature, Debut Performance (Anderson), First Screenplay. VHS, LV, Closed Caption

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