Cinemas opened again this week. I have yet to brave my local, but I will. There’s something special about the lights dimming, the booming sound, the egregious crunch of the popcorn nazis two rows in front and the bemusing adverts for banks and cars that seem to have forgotten the purpose of an advert is product promotion and including said product somewhere in the first 55 seconds of a minute’s ad might be a good idea.
Some films need the big screen to fully justify the expense. Star Wars, fr’instance works better across a wall. So it is understandable if some films have been held back for this moment. Or those who’ve seen it say wait until you see it on a big screen
One such was Nomadsland. But I couldn’t wait so logging into my son in law’s Disney+ account (on the sound principle that I’m too old to subscribe to Disney and anyway he’d paid for it) we watched it.
There are some lingering shots of deserts and those hatstand cactuses beloved of cowboy films. But mostly it’s about people and seeing wrinkles and frowns in sensurround closeup isn’t worth the faff of a night out. So far, so good.
This film hit many sweet spots for many people. The strange life style of these self identifying nomads is fascinating, though for a Brit brought up on the grubby reality of travellers communities clashing with local populations it’s odd to consider this lifestyle might seem romantic to some. Maybe our lack of space and murky weather undermines the dream.
I read it was an uplifting film, epitomising the resilience of the community. I found it all rather sad. I read it had been filmed using real participants in these communities which may be why it contained a kind of documentary feel throughout.
There was a lot to learn, and any film with Frances McDormand in it is worth the entrance money, even scenes with her experiencing the squits on her makeshift can.
But it doesn’t stay with me. I can’t say I cared very much. It’s basically plotless, a wandersome around a calendar year. It’s one thing to leave a lot to the audience’s imagination, quite another to tell you so little you remain pretty clueless about the whys and whatevers of the characters. Or maybe that’s just me.
I am not surprised it won Oscars. It filled an evening. But then again so would removing the spiders from the garage. It’s just not really my sort of film. Too intellectual? Too glacial?
Shoot me down, film loving world but in truth it was a tad boring…