I just finished watching Schindler’s List for the first time in about four years, and a strange thing happened. Half way through the film, a message popped up prompting me to pop disk two in. I know a lot of you would not be shocked by this, as many films in the past have had to do this; what made it so strange is that I didn’t notice how long the film had been playing until that point. It didn’t feel like I had been watching it for very long at all, but it had been nearly two hours. Two bloody hours.
Oblivion was two hours long and watching that felt like a god damn lifetime. It made me realise how much I hate it when a film drags on for too long, so why did I not hate Schindler’s List? That film clocks in a three hours and fifteen minutes, that’s a hell of a long time to sit in one place focusing on one thing.
Obviously what really matters is content – if you’re enjoying what you’re watching, it’s not going to feel like a long time. So when a director decides to cut a film that whacks in at nearly 4 hours, he’d better be damn sure that the content is worth 4 hours of the viewers time. That takes some serious balls.
Usually when checking a film out to watch at the cinema, if it’s 120 minutes or more it can put me off. I tend to have a short attention span as it is, and sitting in a dark cinema for two+ hours on those uncomfortable-ass chairs just isn’t appealing to me. Plus, those large Tango ice blasts that I drink in the cinema don’t last nearly that long.
Maybe it’s just me. I mean, I know the Godfather Trilogy, and Apocalypse Now are amazing films, but when it comes to viewing them in one sitting – I get a little hesitant. To me, three hours seems like too long to actually stay fully engrossed in something, I tend to get distracted and my mind wonders, and I can’t enjoy the film properly.
Although to be honest, those films are nothing compared to some. Even Redux seems like a short haul when compared to some bloody films. Let’s take a quick glance at Wikipedia shall we?
I know these are experimental films, but really? A film that lasts for 10 days? Really?! What are they experimenting how much their editor is willing to take before he hangs himself? Yes, I know that these films are likely not meant to be viewed in one sitting (or at least I hope not) but it doesn’t even end there:
These are cinematic films, which would imply they were made to be viewed in one sitting – or at least made to be viewed as a whole. Tell me, who would do that to themselves? Sit in front of a screen for 15 hours to watch a film. That’s right, nobody – not even the director themselves. What’s the point in making a film this long? Nobody will watch it in one sitting, so just make a damn series.
I know I’m being unfair – of course there are some people who can enjoy watching a film for hours on end. Maybe I’m just jealous, because I can barely make it through a two hour movie – who knows. What I do know is this, 15 hours is far too long for a damn movie. Jesus Christ, I can’t even handle it – what is happening in that film that requires it to be that long? No matter how good that film is, I’m pretty sure you’d start to think it was dragging on eventually, particularly when you start fusing to your chair.
Films technically can be as long as they want, as long as the quality of the content allows for it – but there really has to be a limit. We should devise a special Length : Quality ratio that all films must oblige to – at least then we’d know if the 15 hours we’d spend watching Resan would be wasted or not.