The story is about a day in the life of convenience store clerks and all that happens to him

This freshmen effort by up coming director/writer/actor Kevin Smith is a rare treat. The clerks story is about a day in the life of a convenience store clerk and all that happens to him. Filmed in black and white for only $27,000 (mostly on the credit cards of friends) Smith weaves a tale of complexity that holds your interest and draws you into to these common place lives.

Clerks was made in the same convenience store that Smith worked and uses many of his childhood friends. Rather than giving clerks an amateurish feel it adds to the realism since it is obvious that these people really know other.

There are a few director's trademarks established in clerks that Smith carries on to his other films. His love of the Star Wars movies, his admiration of the film Jaws and the first appearance of Jay and Silent Bob played by Jason Mews and Kevin Smith.

Everything seems to go wrong for the hapless clerk as he just tries to get through the day. He is in a rut, his girlfriend is pressuring him to return to school, his old girlfriend shows up at the store and all he wants is to survive the day. One liners abound in this farce that make you listen with care.

Some of the plot and jokes are only explained in the next two installments of Smith's Jersey Trilogy, Mallrats and Chasing Amy. Still, this movie is what independent films is all about, a film maker with a dream to tell a story, without the glossy features of Hollywood. One warning, the language used almost got this film an NC-17 but the MPAA backed down and it was released as filmed without cuts.

The DVD is extremely well done. There is a very interesting commentary track included. Unlike most commentary tracks, this one sounds more like a group of friends sitting around drinking and telling stories of a common experience. In fact, this is exactly what the commentary track is, even to the point of Jason Mews being noticeably loaded.

The sound is in Dolby 2.0 surround and is clear enough to hear the jokes missed on the video tape. The video does suffer in some parts due to lack of money to reshoot certain scenes. This is well explained in the commentary. The use of camera angles and the control of the pace and setting displays a talent not often seen in a first time director. If you want a good laugh, get Clerks and also get Mallrats and Chasing Amy.

Review by Doug MacLean of

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