Fast backward

They're currently trialling a new feature on mobile devices which enables users to alter the speed of films. Where will it all end?

Peter Edgerton

Friday, 1 November 2019, 13:25

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One of the many misguided conclusions we've come to concerning modern life is that faster is better when, oftentimes, the complete opposite is true.

Lots of people with beards and tattoos munching on hummus wraps all day down at Netflix are the latest culprits to suffer from this hardy delusion. Apparently, they're currently trialling a new feature on mobile devices which enables users to alter the speed of films. While this may be understandable for French films where speeding them up might create the illusion that something is actually happening, for a lot of classics this move spells disaster.

In spaghetti westerns, Clint Eastwood's moody gaze, preempting the shooting of a shedload of baddies, will become little more than the kind of cursory dismissive glance your girlfriend gives you when you've forgotten to pick up the milk on the way home. Jim Carrey, whose manic antics already set the viewers' teeth on edge will surely become the cause of myriad nervous breakdowns as he gurns and lurches through his films at even greater breakneck speed.

It gets worse. Marlon Brando and Al Pacino will converse like Pinky And Perky in The Godfather and Brief Encounter will become even briefer.

Where will it all end? If painstakingly constructed cinematic masterpieces aren't safe from our attention spans akin to those of drugged-up goldfish, surely music isn't either. The old adage 'Don't bore us, get to the chorus' may well become a viable option for listeners any minute now. People enjoying Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah will be able to skip blithely through 'I did my best, it wasn't much/ I couldn't feel so I learned to touch' and go straight to the repetition of the title at the end, thus missing out on one of the finest lines ever written.

Come to think of it, it's already happening on those Voice Factor's Got Talent shows. Whenever I've been unlucky enough to come across one while zapping, the truncated song, missing out all the best bits, is very much secondary to the tragic backstory involving a one-legged grandmother bereavement issue or some such. The singer screeches a long, high note and the audience performs the compulsory standing ovation while granny sheds a tear from on high. The butchered song is just a pawn in the emotional manipulation game.

So, beardy blokes at Netflix, do us all a favour and think again. Let our films run their natural course, so we can indulge in a little of the rather old-fashioned concept of delayed gratification.

In fact, we demand that you withdraw the speedy watching function from your application forthwith.

Except in France.

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