Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Phone usage in cinemas

If you're anything like me cinema excursions are usually fraught with meticulous pre-planning to ensure as painless a screening as possible. From sussing out the most preferable and beneficial seats to pouring over the local multiplex listings to determine the most advantageous screening time, it's a delicate balancing act that requires military precision. The cinema is my cherished sanctuary, the place where I leave my worldly troubles behind and enter into a haven of adventurous escapism for a few joyous hours.

Always ensuring a generous arrival time (remembering to navigate the potential pitfalls of public transport) I sidle up to collect my pre-booked ticket from the frustratingly temperamental self service machine in the rather dingy but familiar foyer. Routinely purchased vitalising coffee in hand (no snacks in sight due to the infamous code of conduct and all that) I ascend the slightly sticky, popcorn strewn staircase to my designated seat. Once the house lights slowly fade and the mainstream trailers roll, I'm zoned in ready to be catapulted into the cinematic stratosphere.

Whilst trying to focus on the latest generic blockbuster trailer, I'm surrounded by a sea of luminous neon glows that slowly capture my gaze from the ever wandering corner of my eye. I understand that in this technology ridden world social media is king, every update is rigorously documented (heck I even do it myself sometimes), but once the BBFC certification card appears I begin to feel a slow cold sweat break out across my palms. Now is the time I should be entering filmic paradise, to absorb every ounce of screen time like some crazed cinematic junkie, but instead I can only see the blazing haze of light pollution from an ridiculously over-sized smartphone a few rows down.

This is unfortunately a common occurrence and I can recall dozen of similar incidents off the top of my head. The most recent being at a national press screening, where the guy next to me kept checking his phone incessantly and was frequently bobbing in and out past me to take several phone calls. Press screenings are personally a nerve racking affair, sitting in a room full of critics you respect and admire is wonderfully surreal and insanely daunting at the same time. Upon leaving the screening room I felt disenchanted, I hadn't fully connected with the heart-wrenching tale I'd just witnessed (Cake if you're wondering) due to technological illumination and quiet leg swivelling being at forefront of my conscious.

The loss of total cinematic immersion is a shock to the system, similar to a burnt mouth instantaneously gained on consumption of an overly hot beverage, it's a startling jolt that is wholly unwelcome. Whilst this exasperating trend is nothing new, it's a commonly bothersome problem that highlights extreme high-tech dependency and people's inability to even be briefly parted from their mobile counterpart.


  1. Mike Brown (@yid219)4 March 2015 at 14:56

    I am in total agreement 100%. When I go to the cinema to watch something for the very first time, I want to be drawn into the film and savour every moment. But then there are others who suddenly take my attention from the screen due to either their phone lighting up the place, chatting among their friends or even worse on their phone or eating. Why do people attend the cinema and then decide to chat throughout or check updates on FB or twitter?

    Can people not leave the real world for the sake of a couple of hours and enjoy what is going on in front of them on the big screen?

    I would love cinemas to have a metal roof so no phone signal can get through and then there is no need for the phone to be out.

    So people, please respect the other cinema goers when you get bored and check your phone. Myself and many others see the cinema as an escape into a story and I want to enjoy the story without any distraction including the trailers!!!!

  2. I heartily agree. Phones are just the newest annoyance. Food has long been a bugbear with me. Rustling and crunching. It makes me so angry. It can seriously ruin a film.

  3. Spot on. I can live with phones during the adverts and can *just* about stomach it through the trailers if I have to, but if I see a phone on during the film I have to summon every ounce of strength not to hurl by chocolate raisins at their illuminated head.

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