From director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Jarhead, 1917, Skyfall) comes this drama set in 1980’s UK, about the cinema Empire, which used to be a majestic theather with 4 screening rooms (alongside a restaraunt), but is now on the decline due to recession and the cinema’s owner, Mr. Ellis, not really doing much to get the estabilishment’s luster back.
The soul of the place is actually his segretary, Hillary, who is the real glue holding together the place, the workers and the morale with her dedication, despite her ailing mental health and questionable love life, and she is struck by this new recruit, a black man called Steven, as they forge a difficult but sincere relationship, all made more heavy by the overwhelmingly racist tendencies that spike during periods of recessions like this period in british history.
With the expected takeaways of how cinema can be a healing escape, a brief one , while also serving as a way to mend together a broken populace that during recessions and hardships are quick to scapegoat minorities with all kinds of violence, and despite sounding a bit preachy and kinda obvious, they work as the movie takes its time to fully flesh out the characters, their relationship, their issues and how they relate to the turbolent fragment in time the movie it’s set in.
And with a top-notch cast of familiar faces giving out great performances, that helps as well. 🙂
Empire Of Light it’s definitely one of those movies that will require some patience due to arguably slow pace in its first half, but it’s worth waiting for the movie to get into gear as the set up does pays off, and the drama does pack quite the punch.
Maybe more “familiar” material than some might like, but still quite good.