The Last Night of the Nightcrawler

Living on a craggy rock in the middle of the Irish Sea, resident contributor Matt Lambourne is always on a quest for a better cinema experience. In his latest article he explains his frustration with the current mainstream offering and why YOU are to blame!

By Matt Lambourne (@Matt_Lambourne)

It is fair to say that the general cinema going public aren’t always the brightest bunch. We regularly see dumbed down, CGI-laden bloat-reel adorning the top of the Box Office charts and that is fine. There is definitely room for braindead entertainment and we are all guilty of enjoying from time to time. However as a fan of cinema, I yearn to be intellectually stimulated as well as being taken to popcorn-pyro heaven.

This evening, I have enjoyed the immensely entertaining and dark thriller that is Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler. Without going into too much detail, the film is a throughly pleasantly uncomfortable romp with a unique premise that is brilliantly executed. Jake Gyllenhaal, shows yet further acting dexterity as the creepily cold and relentlessly ambitious night time news video shooter, who crawls the L.A streets at the midnight hour in search of grim footage of crime and human tragedy to sell to News stations.

Tonight was its opening night here at the Isle of Man’s Broadway cinema and I must admit I was quite surprised we even got it here at all! The Isle of Man has 2 cinemas, one has 2 screens and the other (Broadway) only one. This means we generally get only box-office heavyweight sure-fire sellout hits… something that leaves this movie critic extremely frustrated.

Alas, we receive the eagerly anticipated Nightcrawler and for it’s opening night it got a whopping 12 attendees for it’s only evening showing of 19:30 (this includes myself and my girlfriend). This is for a film with a decent Hollywood drawer lead in Jake Gyllenhaal and currently sits on a superb 8.3/10 on IMDB at the time of writing.

Empty cinema

This tells you everything you need to know about the current state of cinema and whilst the Isle of Man is a microcosm in the grand scheme of the cinema industry you can bet this is repeated often up and down UK & Irish cinemas. Yes, we demand entertainment, sometimes in the form of a heat seeking missile or a giant Robot fight that is happening so fast we can’t even process what is happening. Yet there is a core of cinema fans that yearn for more, yearn for that intellectually challenging, original and even adult orientated piece of cinema that gets you talking amongst friends, or writing about in social-media.

But unfortunately, when cinema takes a stab at doing the right thing, you don’t show up, like that unreliable friend who always cancels on you last minute. A cinema with a captive audience at only 80,000 people maximum and one screen can’t afford to take many stabs at high-brow entertainment and we’ve let ourselves down on this one.

We’ll continue to turn up in droves for the latest Transformers romp, or Tim Burton’s latest instalment of gothic Johnny Depp worshipping, but when when a director dares do something a little different, you stayed at home and let cinema lose.

The change starts with you folks, don’t cry foul when your local cinema isn’t showing the latest Oscar-bait because you didn’t turn up last time but gladly handed over your money for Marmaduke. You did it with Fight Club, you did it with Dredd and now you’ve done it with Nightcrawler.. a film that is likely to be spoken of for a long time to come, but sadly will disappear into the night as suddenly as it appeared.

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