By Jacob Jewitt-Jalland
Cinema-goers are facing difficult times; we are constantly faced with a slew of wretched ‘octequels’ (a word I just made up to describe the forthcoming 8th ‘film’ in the Fast and Furious series), Michael Bay outings and live-action reboots of classic animated film which, if we are honest with ourselves, were perfectly charming originals. Now, they have mutated into a hideous Disney cash cow milked until its bleeding udders have dried, and the whole beast has toppled under the weight of so many sneering student reviews).
On top of this, cinema prices have sky-rocketed to such a level that having a burly gentleman hoist us by our ankles and shake us until the coins fall from our pockets into a giant sack marked ‘swag’ would actually be preferable (at least it would add a little excitement to the procedure). Perhaps to cut costs they could employ the same person to perform the cavity search we now have to endure in case we have managed to squirrel away even a single morsel of food (on my most recent trip to the cinema it was paprika cashews which I defiantly munched in front of the attendant after she found them, which I immediately regretted as I had to sell my car to buy the small one gallon drink I then needed to quench my thirst).
Piracy is clearly to blame for the infuriating destruction of such a sacred pleasure, though I must admit as I sat through the yawn-inducing first half of Hacksaw Ridge, I did wonder why I hadn’t simply searched for the inevitably leaked online version. That is until the battle of Okinawa began and I was thrown headfirst into one of the most intense and frightening war films I have ever seen. Don’t get me wrong, this film is no masterpiece, Andrew Garfield is good and Vince Vaughn’s horrendously humorous drill sergeant is the perfect antidote to the otherwise hackneyed boot-camp sequence; but it is still a Mel Gibson film, and therefore about as deep as the puddle of sick I nearly left in my seat after the hideously trite final sequence. But as I sat, or rather cowered, back in my seat and took a quick scan across the sea of awe-struck, horrified, gleeful, emoting faces around me lit only by the terrifyingly incessant flashes of constant artillery fire, I realised that this was why I came to the cinema – why anyone comes to the cinema. The excitement and terror induced by a film like this comes only from the cinema, that special place that, through its immersive, aggressive, beautiful presence left myself and my fellow cinema-goers sweating right through our seats.
My father told me recently that when I was a child, every time I came out of the cinema I would claim the film had been the ‘best I’ve ever seen’ despite that film often being something as awful as Dinosaur. That is the magic of the cinema, for all the sticky floors and noisy kids, expensive tickets and strip-searches, nothing can damage the exhilaration of seeing a film in the cinema, even if that film is utterly pants.
Featured image courtesy of Hyde Park Film House