Here’s one more pro and con — depending on your perspective — to the theatrical vs. home-viewing debate that occurred to me post-posting on Friday:
Being the master of one’s watching-domain aids those of us who aren’t masters of our bladders; as a water chugger with an infinitesimal urocyst, it sure is nice to be able to drain the veins without missing a thing. Holding it in until the bursting point in a theater — where’s an adult diaper when you need one? — can create the same sort of cognitive distance as a television remote, and sprinting for sweet relief runs the risk of losing out on witnessing a crucial moment; imagine walking out of Armageddon without having seen the animal-cracker debacle! You couldn’t have participated in the subsequent mockery! On a more serious note, when dealing with more, um, substantive material like The Painted Bird, where every second must be considered if one hopes to have a chance of understanding the whole enigmatic affair, losing a piece of the puzzle, no matter how microscopic, could make putting it all together impossible.
And when it comes to movies like The Painted Bird, wondering who are these oddballs around you willing to sit through such misery in an enclosed space during a pandemic definitely boggles the brain into pondering if they — sorry, we — have a, or perhaps many, screws loose. And given the story’s focus on the unpredictable yet widespread barbarity of humanity, contemplating what
they we are capable of heightens the general sense of immersive unease.