Save The Cinema is a new Sky Cinema film set in the ’90s, even though early on, we get The Waterboys’ Whole Of The Moon – from 1985 – blaring out. Then again, it did get a re-release in 1991 when it climbed higher in the charts, to No.3, instead of the original’s position of No.26.
But about the film’s plot, and Colm Meaney – as Martyn – tries to mask his strong Irish accent with a Welsh one, but it doesn’t quite work. Still, his character wants to demolish The Lyric cinema and put up a shopping centre, instead, despite the fact that the cinema is a listed building. Mayor Tom Jenkins (Adeel Akhtar) gets a bribe to go ahead with it, but at the major annoyance of Liz Evans (Samantha Morton – I Am Kirsty, Rillington Place), who wants to put on a production of Oliver Twist.
Based on a true story, Liz is a hairdresser, so tries to kill two birds with one stone by setting up her business in the Lyric, itself, while all this is going on. Along the way, an attempt at reviving interest in the place as a cinema is to put on the Welsh mining village film, How Green Was My Valley – run by projectionist Mr. Morgan (Jonathan Pryce), the scene of which also features a brief appearance from Liz’s real sons, one of whom is Wynne Evans, better known as the Go Compare singer. However, as the film causes Wynne and others to heartily singalong to Bread Of Heaven, it just casts my mind back to when Victor Meldrew had an encounter with this song, below…
Ultimately, Liz aims for the cinema to get the chance to show Jurassic Park on the same night as the London premiere in July 1993. However, the build-up to that being the big-hitter aspect for this film feels as ho-hum a prospect as it plays out.
Save The Cinema‘s main problem is that it just feels so by-the-numbers. Capitalism greed leads to Liz being very upset and mournful about losing her precious theatre. Can she overcome it and get the backing from the town? What do you think?
I can see this is all meant to be a simple and crowd-pleasing film that all the family can sit through, but it’s just incredibly dull, and most people are going to get bored while watching this.
The only plus is that it reminds me over the Davenport Theatre, in Stockport, which put on a number of productions over the years, although since I mostly grew up in the ’80s, it was then when I went to see films aplenty. However, it was bought out by the school I went to, Stockport Grammar, and eventually demolished to make way for a big car park. By that time, it was also the ’90s and multiplex cinemas were all the rage, since the Manchester Showcase Cinema in Belle Vue became my cinema of choice from 1990 until the Trafford Centre opened. Time marches on, and even the Showcase fell out of favour, and that closed on March 17th 2020. It’s a shame, but everything has its time, and the only thing of interest to be in that area when I was younger, was the next door bowling alley… which has long since closed.
I can see this film is a very romanticised notion of reviving a cinema that’s long, lost and almost gone, but Save The Cinema is the kind of film you can almost sleep through and you’ll have missed nothing.
Save The Cinema is on Sky Cinema from Friday January 14th, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Running time: 105 minutes
Release date: January 14th 2022
Studio: Sky Cinema
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Director: Sara Sugarman
Screenplay: Piers Ashworth
Story: Lorraine King
Liz Evans: Samantha Morton
Richard Goodridge: Tom Felton
Mr. Morgan: Jonathan Pryce
Darek: Owen Teale
Susan: Erin Richards
David Evans: Owain Yeoman
Tom Jenkins: Adeel Akhtar
Martyn: Colm Meaney
Dolly: Susan Wokoma
Aled: Jason Hughes
Mr. Powell: Rhod Gilbert
Carol: Dora Davis
Huw Evans: Joe Hurst
Mourner: Leanne Holder
Cinemagoer: Wynne Evans
Mr. Hopkins: Thaer Al-Shayei
Young Liz: Louisa Cliffe
Young Tom Jenkins: Krrish Patel
Young David: Saul Sugarman
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.