If you have been reading my early blog posts you will start to understand that I am a big fan of movies and the cinema. I recently wrote a blog piece about the excellent Hidden Figures care of Odeon screen unseen. Another site which is great for providing early (and free) access to big films at the cinema is Showfilmfirst.com. I’ve been using this website for over ten years, now that they are a lot more popular movies tend to be less frequent at the cinema nearest to me. It’s still worth getting on to their mailing list.
How does ShowFilmFirst work?
Showfilmfirst arranges film previews on behalf of the big movie companies, they are ticketed events but free to attend. There are normally no adverts or trailers before the film preview begins. Often more tickets are offered than seats at the cinema. Make sure that you arrive a little earlier than the screening start time, to guarantee a seat. On this occasion, the preview was set to start at 630pm. I arrived at 6 and that was perfectly fine with plenty of seats remaining.
Sound too good to be true?
They must want something in return, it can’t be completely free, right? All they ask of you after the film ends is that you complete a short online survey regarding your experience. Have you seen the comments on film posters when they are promoting a forthcoming attraction? “Thriller that chilled me to my bones”. “Best action movie of 2016”. A lot of these comments originate from preview screenings such as that offered by Showfilmfirst. If you do happen to attend one, get your creative writing hat on when you complete the survey.
On this occasion, I went to see Patriots Day. Based on the true story of the horrific terror attack at the Boston marathon in April 2013 and the subsequent city-wide police hunt for “White hat” and “Black hat”, the prime suspects in the bombings.
Mark Wahlberg plays the lead character of Tommy Saunders (a fictional representation of experiences by multiple police officers on the day). He’s a sergeant from the Boston Police department with a hot temper that has got him into trouble. Saunders is serving out the final days of his unofficial punishment for misbehaving. He is set to work on Marathon day looking after the VIP guests at the finish line.
The film gives due attention to the attack and covers with sometimes gory attention. The main focus is on the police and FBI investigation following the bombings. You also see Kevin Bacon as FBI Special Agent Richard Deslauriers and John Goodman as the Boston Police commissioner Ed Davis – both of which are actual people involved in the event.
There are some excellent subtle touches with the cinematography in the opening minutes as we are introduced to those set to be affected by the incident. Throughout the rest of the film, it dips in and out of actual footage from the event along with mocked-up footage and then the actual film itself. It does a great job in allowing you to follow the story in the same way that you might have done from home at the time. At the same time, offering a greater insight into what happened from the perspective of the people within the story, based on the book “Boston Strong”.
I had been wanting to see this film for a while, having watched a documentary about survivors of the blast “Marathon: The Patriots Day bombing“. The documentary is not for the feint hearted and neither is the movie, to be honest. Speaking not just as a runner, but as a human being, I genuinely felt my chest ache on their behalf as I relived the events through their eyes. It offers an excellent tribute to those who were heroes throughout and who still battle today.