Wednesday, 13 October 2010

I'm going back in time

Last night, Emma and I went to see Back to the Future on the big screen. It was kind of weird - seeing a film about time travel which took us back to our youths: paradoxical in a sense. Marty goes back to 1955 so that we can go back to 1985. I was ten. Emma - well, a gentleman doesn't tell.

The cinema was packed. With air. There were two other people in the audience, both of whom were wearing the same Whitesnake t-shirts they wore to the original screening, somewhat strained these days.

Was it worth seeing? Oh yes. As well as a hymn to being young and Californian in 1985, there's a quiet social satire going on. Yes, success is calculated by whether you have a Toyota 4x4 and your families wear suits to work, but the set design implies a deep nervousness about the direction in which American society is going. For instance, the cinema on the town square: in the 1950s it's showing a Reagan/Stanwyck classic: by the 1980s, it's a porn cinema. Similarly the shops change, from independent outlets to charity shops or boarded-up shells. Litter appears, and 1985 features homeless people. This isn't simple nostalgia for a mythical golden age - there's a social critique going on.

Problems with the film? Huey Lewis and the News, and the fashions, all of which have returned with a vengeance. Worse than that, the climactic scene - the Enchantment Under the Sea dance features white boy Marty McFly teaching black musicians the blues. Dubious.

You missed a treat.

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