Cinema times: ‘Baby Driver’

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I had never heard of the film. I  didn’t bother to research it to find out any details about it. All I knew was that on Wednesday, the Odeon Cinema charges five euro per film all day. After my driving lesson I was going to see ‘Baby Driver’.

Was it a comedy, a thriller; a rom-com, a horror, a gangster film, a period drama. Who knew? Who cared? For a fiver it doesn’t really matter.

The Odeon closest to my house is in the Docklands area – down near the 3Arena (or the Point Depot as it will be eternally known to people over a certain age). It is on the top floor of an abandoned shopping centre.

Some years ago, before the economic crash, and while people were flush with imaginary money, Point Village Shopping Centre was erected down by the Point Depot. It was completed, and ready for tenants. Dunnes’ Stores – the Irish supermarket chain – was going to lease the flagship store in the complex. It presence would attract other stores to the centre. That’s how these places operate. The big store attracts the footfall and the smaller merchants reap the additional benefits.

Then the economy collapsed. People realised that they were spending make-believe money, printed by dodgy banks, and that billions needed to be repaid by taxpayers to save these banks, because they were too big to fail. And the economy came to a grinding halt.

Dunnes Stores decided that the Point Village Shopping Centre was no longer a wise idea – because of the recession all of the apartment blocks and residential buildings planned for the neighbourhood were cancelled. A decision was taken to withdraw from the centre before it had even opened . Without a flagship store, none of the other unitys in the three storey building were occupied. So for a few years it remained empty.

A few years ago the Odeon chain of cinemas decided to expand its film empire by opening a five screen cinema on the top floor of the shopping centre. A welcome addition to the neighbourhood it is too. So now to access this cinema you have to ascend several flights of stairs, through boarded up, abandoned shop floors  before you reach it. It’s a creepy vibe in this massive building. It feels like the type of place that the Undead would congregate. A massive, desolate warehouse symbolising the death of commerce, and on the top floor a picture-house. I love it – it is strangely atmospheric and sinister.

How was the film? Well it was enjoyable, brainless fun. Ansel Elgort plays Baby – the getaway driver for a gang of bank robbers controlled by the menacing Kevin Spacey. It follows his adventures in crime, at a driving pace (see what I did there?) and a pounding soundtrack, as the gang engage in one more elaborate heist. It was funny and entertaining and bloody, with a likeable cast. It won’t win Oscars – then again when has that ever been the badge of good cinema?

It is quite the tragic realisation however,  when you realise that you are old enough to be the Dad of the leading man. How did that happen? I still look young (in my own head anyway – at least when one ignores the grey hair growing on said head).

Perhaps there’s a portrait of Dorian Murphy on one of those abandoned shop units in the Point Village Shopping Centre, where my true age is displayed?

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