The historic Cameo Cinema in Tollcross, which started life showing silent films in 1914, has finally opened its doors to the public again. You must sit a couple of seats away from anyone you didn’t come with, and wear a mask unless eating or drinking (rules on snogging are less clear-cut).
But to my surprise, the cosy, relaxed atmosphere, which is always the main selling point of The Cameo, has been maintained wonderfully. The mask is easily forgotten once the trailers start, and overall it felt a lot less like ‘the new normal’ than I had feared. The magic of cinema has returned at last.
The film I chose for dipping my toes into cinema again was Tenet. The new Christopher Nolan thriller doesn’t stray far from his previous output, but the $200 million budget makes it his most expensive film yet. It has shades of James Bond (they save the world from an evil Russian) but also Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban (because of all the time travel and famous British people).
The beginning feels like you’ve been dumped right into the middle of a movie, which meant I had no idea what was going on for the first twenty minutes, but despite the confusion, it was exciting. The film is well-crafted by Nolan in his signature style. John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, and Elizabeth Debicki are all excellent and the action sequences are undeniably thrilling, but the thing about suspending your characters in a weird time bubble is that they can’t really have a storyline you care about, because they aren’t going forward.
On the flip side, the time travel element leads to some superb sequences of explosions played in reverse. The fire and smoke contracts back into nothing in a very satisfying way. Ultimately, the actors do reel off some zingers and the art heists and kidnappings certainly get your heart racing, but it lacks an emotional anchor and I could barely muster concern about whether the characters lived or died at the end.
The Cameo is also showing Babyteeth, an Australian coming of age film starring Eliza Scanlen about a seriously ill teenager falling in love with a local drug dealer, and Proxima, which stars Eva Green as an astronaut who leaves her young daughter behind. They offer a student discount and a Student Members scheme, which gets you 25 per cent off food and drink and cheaper tickets for £25 a year. Long live cinema!
Image: Kotivalo via Wikimedia Commons