So we finally went down to the Screen on Baker Street to see Casino Royale on Saturday night. Yeah, I know, about three weeks after everyone else, but there you go.
And it’s really good, of course, but that’s more than could be said for our fellow viewers. Just like Rob and Al before us (although admittedly they were distracted from rather more highbrow pursuits) our enjoyment was diminished by being in close proximity to the general public.
As soon as the trailers started up, it became clear that the middle-aged couple next to us had confused a full cinema and the 80-odd strangers seated around them for their own living room and DVD player. Easy enough to do, I suppose. They talked loudly throughout the trailers, filling the cinema with their inane chatter (and to give you an idea of the kind of insightful commentary they were providing, here’s a small sample: at the end of the Orange-sponsored “please turn off your phones” ad, which finishes with just the first half of their slogan, “the future’s bright…”, the moron next to us felt that what the entire cinema really needed was for him to loudly complete the line “ha, ha! the future’s orange…”)
But you sort of expect some low-level chatter during the ads, I suppose. “They’ll stop when the film comes on, won’t they?” I said to Sal.
They did not.
And so, I spent the first 10 or so minutes of the film itself–through the whole of the base jumping sequence and beyond–listening to them present evidence of a complete lack of internal monologue with their idiotic verbal outbursts (at one point early on in the film some cards are turned over in a poker game: “ah! two aces!” shouted the lady, apparently in some kind of service to the partially sighted). As time passed, I tried to compose the wittiest and most efficient put down I could, each time vowing that the next time they spoke I would use it, but by the time I’d settled on “Excuse me, I came to watch the film, not listen to you. Could you please be quiet”, and turned to deploy it, Sal had reached breaking point too, and she beat me to it with her own variation.
They were largely quiet from that point on.
You don’t mess with Sal.