Michel Hazanavicius’ loving homage to 1920s-era cinema The Artist might well be attracting the attention of film purists round about now, as it welcomes numerous awards and garners nominations across the board, but that hasn’t stopped UK cinema-goers demanding refunds for the silent film after complaining about, hear us out, a distinct ‘lack of dialogue’. A silent movie with a lack of dialogue you say? Ludicrous!
Where SFX-laden blockbusters and ditzy romantic comedies fill cinema chains on a daily basis, it’s not uncommon to hear about customer complaints when a more ‘arty’ affair hits the mainstream. Nevertheless, it truly beggars belief that anyone going in to see The Artist – a film that, ironically, tells the story of silent movie star George Valentin who ‘wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion’ (Source: IMDB) – is surprised when confronted by a black-and-white picture and dialogue-less scenes.
Having first denied the claims (we can't see why they'd care), a spokesperson for the UK's leading cinema chain confessed, “Odeon Liverpool One can confirm it has issued a small number of refunds to guests who were unaware that The Artist was a silent film.” It is Odeon company policy to offer refunds to guests within the first ten minutes of a film showing.
Humorously, this type of complaint in the world of cinema is nothing new. Last year, a woman who forked out for the excellent Drive starring Ryan Gosling filed a law suit against FilmDistrict after complaining that she had expected the film to be more like Vin Diesel-starring The Fast and the Furious. She argued the film "bore very little similarity to a chase, or race action film ... having very little driving in the motion picture."
What's next? A bid to sue Paddy Considine for a severe lack of Humans vs. Dino action in his directorial debut, Tyrannosaur? How about refunds for customers who felt Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy had too little tinkering and tailoring? More suggestions very much welcome.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.