Saturday, May 28, 2011


I saw INCENDIES at two in the afternoon on a Friday. The theater in which I saw it has five hundred seats in it. I counted fourteen people at my particular showing. Why is it then that two people should walk in and sit right next to me? I mean, they didn't even leave the customary one-seat gap that is common courtesy in a theater not filled to capacity. They sat right next to me. I sighed, stood up, and walked about seven seats farther down and sat again, furious. What kind of sick human being does that kind of thing? I had to take a second look at them just to make sure it wasn't somebody I knew playing a joke on me. Nope, no one I know, just a couple of middle-aged ladies. I was wondering if this was going to affect my enjoyment of the move or even color my review when, would you believe it, the same two women got up from their seats and moved closer to the center. They sat only one seat away from me! Did I mention that there are literally five hundred seats in the theater and fourteen people? I'm sure I did because there is no reason to sit anywhere near another human being in such conditions. The one-seat courtesy gap is not courtesy at all--it's a downright invasion of personal space. "Jesus Christ," I hissed. I stood up again and moved way the hell down the row of seats, to the opposite side of the theater from where I had originally sat. What kind of monsters behave this way? I wished I had a large coke to dump on their heads. I do not want to smell you, or hear you whisper, or listen to the bovine way you chew your popcorn. I still would rather see a movie in the theater than watch it at home, but it seems that every time I leave the house something like this happens. This is at the locally run, independent art house theater, mind you. It's a foreign film with subtitles. I guess the clientele there is a much a bunch of apes as they are anywhere else. I may as well go out and see the new PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movie for the experience I had.

I was half entertaining the idea of leaving my review of INCENDIES as the above paragraph. I did cool down enough to enjoy the movie. I don't have a lot to say about it, actually, though I would recommend it with a couple words of caution. First of all, at two hours and ten minutes, it's too long. I found myself editing the movie as I was watching it. There's a lot of fat to trim. Twenty minutes could easily be cut. Second, and this is completely related to the first, I do not think that we need to cram music videos into movies, so that we are forced to listen to entire Radiohead songs over static camera shots of desolate landscape that does nothing to advance the story. This happened, I think, three times during INCENDIES. There's nine minutes that can be cut right there. Am I alone in that I don't go to the movies to listen to music?

The negative tone of this review might give some the impression that I didn't like INCENDIES. I liked it a great deal, actually. The sense of mystery is strong, the performances are good, and the resolution is surprising enough to justify what seems to be a weird structure. So, if you are made of tough enough stuff to withstand the thousands of depraved individuals that make up today's average moviegoer, I recommend you go to a theater and check it out.

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