My wife and I almost always catch the Fresno Filmworks viewings each month. We were there on November 11th at the first showing of Brighton Rock. As has happened before, we found that the combination of the Tower’s antiquated projection sound system and any film involving working-class British accents is deadly. It’s just like white noise. Perhaps twenty or thirty people walked out early. Given the overwhelming liberal bent of the Filmworks audience, bless them, I don’t think they were repulsed by the content of the film, but were just unable to follow the plot. We were tempted to walk as well. I pretended I was deaf and tried to follow the plot visually. Worked pretty well, but . . .
But we’ll still go every month, and just hope for films with subtitles. At least subtitles that aren’t white and that disappear into any bright scene. It’s not easy loving independent and foreign films.
I had similar issues with the film watching it at home on DVD. (I didn’t mention it in my review because screener copies of films with British accents sometimes don’t include subtitles while the actual film in the theater does. I just figured I got unlucky.) One character at the beginning of the film who got killed early on spoke with such a thick working-class accent that I was only to grasp about 25% of the dialogue.
Unfortunately, I don’t think this is something Filmworks can fix — beyond not booking such films in the first place. In recent years, I’ve seen a number of subtitled films in English, especially ones from Scotland. Let’s face it, sometimes the accents can be so thick the film might as well be in a different language.