I love going to the cinema by myself. I’ll admit that it’s partially because it makes me feel like Don Draper from Mad Men, his solo excursions to the downtown theatre an essential part of his creative process/work avoidance strategy.
To be totally honest, I don’t want to have to socialise while I’m trying to escape into two or three hours of immersive joy.
Mostly though, I just love films. And every Hollywood director who insists the cinema is where their art is supposed to be experienced is absolutely right. Film is meant to be taken in, enjoyed, adored on the big screen.
We’ve had a pair of blockbuster reminders of that fact in the past 12 months with Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water raking it in at the box office. Both pictures broke the limits of what cinema is capable of and have been awarded with Best Picture nominations on top of their huge profits.
There’s simply no replacing the visual brilliance of films like this on the small screen. They’ll both join the streaming merry-go-round eventually but a home viewing won’t come close to replicating the rush of Maverick’s jets zooming by or The Way of Water’s stunning underwater world coming to life in 3D.
The majesty of the big screen goes beyond fighter jets and aliens at war, though. In truth it is the simpler things that matter most for the movie-goer. Having marvelled at the brilliance of The Banshees of Inisherin both in the cinema and via Disney+ I can safely say the former experience blew the latter away.
Perhaps lost amidst a picture boasting four Oscar nominated acting performances is the cinematography of Ben Davis (I will never forgive the Academy for nominating Elvis for Best Cinematography instead). Only on the big screen can his stunning wide shots capturing the hallowed beauty of the islands be not just seen, but really felt.
The visuals of Inis Mórand Achill Island marry perfectly with Carter Burwell’s haunting score (which, mercifully, received a deserved Best Original Score nod) and establish an eery atmosphere through which the entire film can be fully embraced.
Whacking Banshees on the telly will give you some semblance of it and there’s no denying it is a film driven largely by its stellar cast. But if you haven’t seen it in all its glory, have you really seen it?
Whether it’s thrill-a-minute action or the mythical lull of an Irish island the cinema is the place to see it. It is a pilgrimage, the buying of tickets and popcorn is ritual, the viewing nothing short of hours of miraculous apparition.
Remember the first time you saw Schindler’s List? Remember how it felt when the little girl in the red coat appeared on screen?
Blow that moment up on to a 50-foot screen with full surround sound. That’s cinema.
No Time to Die calls Prime Video home these days but what I’ll remember is bursting into tears as a man synonymous with my childhood, Daniel Craig’s 007, reached the end of his 15-year journey.
That’s another great thing about going to the cinema alone. There’s no one there next to you to see you weep over the death of a fictional secret agent.