One thing I always do when watching a film in a cinema is, I notice the audience's verdict. It's part of the reason I will actively seek out more packed screenings when booking online. So here's a little game for the next time you're at the Big Screen, with a sizeable crowd and your Film finishes: Listen, Watch and Evaluate.
Listen to those mummers of chatter that follow immediately after the credits. Watch the expression on people's faces as they leave. Evaluate their body language. Why? Because you'll get a pretty good sense if everyone enjoyed the film as much as you, or if they are furious they spent money to see it. This little game was never more relevant than when I saw Blade Runner 2049.
Let me paint the picture. IMAX. Sunday Afternoon. A packed crowd, all the elements of a great response. Then, the credits hit, and I heard...silence. No applause, hardly any chatter, no smiles. But, a lot of expressionless faces, head scratching and the odd die hard shaking their head in disappointment. Now I'm very much the neutral that did his homework before seeing the film. I found out which cut I was supposed to watch, watched it on some completely legal site on Saturday evening, And it was good. Not what people had been telling me for years was an iconic film, but still good.
That very much is where I think the problem lies with Blade Runner 2049. People didn't know what to expect. The Director says it's a Sci-Fi Noir, the poster says traditional popcorn flick. The Trailer says Art house film with a big budget. The Diehards say one of the greatest films of all time.
Where I think people may not have enjoyed the film is the expectation. I very much enjoyed it. The cinematography is award-winning. The acting superb. The script as tight as it can be. But I knew what I was getting myself in for. A slow build up noir, that would rely heavily on saying very little and being philosophical.
Blade Runner 2049 is a great film. Possibly better than the original, but I strongly suggest that you see the original first not because it's the greatest film ever. But because you'll know what you're getting yourself into.
Jenkinson Denzel Southern
Director, Writer & Editor.