I went to the Landmark last night to see Anton Corbijn‘s A Most Wanted Man for the second time. It’s a subtle, finely tuned thing. It was satisfying to note that the clues and indications seemed easier to spot this time. In yesterday’s review I called it “one of those films you want to see twice to scan for whatever clues may have been revealed early on but which you, the all-but-clueless or perhaps not-smart-enough viewer, missed the first time.” I did notice that the sound at the Landmark seemed sharper and more precise than at the Wilshire Screening Room, where I first caught it. What sounded murky or muttering at the Wilshire was clear and discernible at the Landmark.
I was given a complimentary ticket and therefore didn’t have a chance to choose my own seat. I got there in the middle of the trailers and was shown to my seat, which was in the middle of a crowded row of 70something bluehairs. I didn’t want to sit there but the row in front was half empty. So I stood and waited for latecomers to arrive, figuring that at least a couple of seats would be available five or ten minutes after the film began. I waited five minutes (the show was scheduled to start at 7:10 pm) and sure enough, two or three people arrived. Four empty seats left. I waited another five and nobody else showed. At 7:20 pm I took a seat on the aisle and settled in.
But I was half-watching the entrance with dread as several more latecomers — singles, couples — arrived during the next 15 minutes. Who arrives to see a film 15, 20 or 25 minutes late? Especially a film as reportedly complex and attention-demanding as A Most Wanted Man? (My Million Dollar Arm episode in Manhattan was different, as I’ve explained.) Would these Johnny-come-latelies come up to my aisle to claim a reserved seat? High anxiety, touch and go…please, no. The last latecomer came into the theatre at 7:35 pm. 25 minutes late!