I have no idea how the cinemas choose what they show and in which size of cinema room. One presumes it has something to do with film budget and distributors enticement, not to mention ability to put bums on seats and intake in ticket money and over priced eats and drinks.
Therefore I was puzzled at so many cinemas initially refusing to show it. If we want to see small interest films like ‘Wind that shakes the barley’ or ‘Black 47’, we tend to take a trip into the Belmont cinema in Aberdeen. They do lots of films the bigger companies don’t touch. Nowhere this far north was touching Robert the Bruce.
This enraged me, particularly when I read a review by a friend who had been to an initial screening. According to her, it was not overtly political. It was the story of the period from 1306 to just before the Battle of Bannockburn, what happened in Scotland and to Bruce.
Thanks to social media we found out that the Vue in Inverness was doing 3 showings this week, all at 7.45pm. I’ve since learned that Cineworld were showing at different times but only one showing per day. Given that we had signed the online petition ( that perhaps swayed Vue’s opinion) we reckoned we better do the 3 hour round trip to see it. We were in the lucky position we could do that. Many would not have been.
Ian purchased the tickets mid morning on Monday. He reported that not many tickets had been purchased at that point. Later, on social media, I saw the post from the article in the National saying that Vue were having a trial run of the film in some cinemas. Perhaps this boosted the urgency for folk to go see it. When we got to the cinema it was pleasantly half full. It was not the largest viewing room but it was not the smallest one either. By the time the lights went down there could have been very few seats, if any, left in the bigger theatre style seating. In the front section the two front rows (which break your neck to watch a film) were empty, the remaining rows were 75% filled. I have heard that more accessible cinemas to bigger populations were sold out at the weekend.
There was no cheering or shouting like in a Braveheart showing. The audience were very quiet and attentive. The story was told in the old folklore style, all coming together in the final lines. I doubt there was a dry eye in the house at the end.
Was it a unionist plot to keep it off the screen? It may well have been. In the beginning I was annoyed. Typical Scot, fighting among themselves. If they couldn’t pick the winning side, they would go after the prize money. Aimlessly living, drinking and falling out. Eventually the other side were shown, orderly, practising waiting faithfully.
A nationalist friend (do I have any other kind?) left a comment on my post after seeing the film – I saw a lot of parallels with the current phase of the current political campaign. Prepare and practice while giving the leader space to strengthen for the battle ahead.
As did I. I hope we are right.
If the cinemas pull this film, we need to find a way of getting people to see it. This may be the next wee campaign. I am sure Angus Macfadyen will lead this again.