Review:Reel Unknown’s Hidden Picture screening of Con Air

Posted on 8 March 2012
By Jo Ching
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The secret behind Liverpool’s first Hidden Picture Show by Reel Unknown was slowly unfolded last night as they took their audience on a visceral adventure.

Inspired by London’s secret cinema movement, after buying a ticket, the audience were sent a cryptic e-mail: in the form of a Nevada State Court Summons telling them to meet under the Chinese arches, where they would be led to the secret venue.

After being ‘escorted by security’ to hipster haunt The Kazimier, we were all lined up outside and the action kicked off when an impromptu fight broke out in Wolstenholme Square where one man was confronted by a gang and dragged away.

Cinemagoers were then hustled inside for mug-shots and fingerprints before being allowed to wander freely amongst other performers and art installations, which were all clues to what the movie was.

In the middle of the theatre floor was an eerie, apocalyptic looking play area scene, sealed off with police tape, with a lone actress playing with her dolls, who couldn’t be pulled from her performance.

Upstairs, we were greeted by Las Vegas showgirls and poker-faced casino croupiers hosting Blackjack in the darkest corners of the former cabaret club.

Slowly all clues to what the secret screening was going to be came together, as a group of orange bolier suit clad prisoners were paraded in front of the screen, it was none other than 1997 B-movie classic Con Air.

Starring all-action hero Nicolas Cage as an ex-convict released from prison and trying to make his way back to his wife and daughter versus Hollywood heavyweights John Cusack and John Malkovich and a creepy performance by Steve Buscemi.

Watching Nicolas Cage deliver his deadpan hero one liners was an extra treat amongst the gathered throng as we had all been pulled into the world of the film by the live acting and art elements and laughter flowed more easily than in a usual cinema environment.

Ruth Meekings, co-producer of Reel Unknown said: “When we set up Reel Unknown we wanted to construct an event which mixes one of youth’s great loves, film, theatre and with an affordable price tag.

“We’re glad people enjoyed themselves and we’re hoping to do more events in the future.”