This weekend sees the eagerly awaited release of Killers of the Flower Moon, the latest offering from director Martin Scorsese.
No stranger to lengthy runtimes, the new movie, starring Scorsese regulars Leonardo Dicaprio and Robert DeNiro, comes in at a hefty 3 hours and 26 minutes. That’s only a few minutes shy of Scorsese’s longest ever movie, The Irishman. It’s also the fourth film in a row he’s directed that has ran for over 3 hours.
Add on an extra 25 minutes of previews and that leaves you stuck in your cinema seat for almost 4 hours.
Maybe that doesn’t seem that long, when you consider the binge watching habits streaming services like Netflix have ingrained in us. Yet the crucial point of difference here is that you are binge watching from the comfort of your own home, with the ability to pause for bathroom or snack breaks – all things that aren’t possible without missing crucial parts of the feature if you’re watching in a cinema.
Convenience aside, when it comes to optimal length of a movie for maximum enjoyment – this of course largely depends on the personal preferences of the individual viewer, the pacing of the story, and the quality of the film itself.
Generally, a common length for feature films is between 90 and 120 minutes. While some film fans may relish the opportunity to hunker down for a long film, anything surpassing the 2 hour mark can be hard to concentrate on, thanks to our rapidly shortening attention spans and the impulse to check our phones.
That being said, some of the popular and frequently awarded films of all time, according to both critics and fans alike, often do exceed this range, lasting up to 3 hours or more. Examples include iconic trilogies, from Lord of the Rings to The Godfather and other widely beloved movies like Titanic, which also just so happens to star Leonardo DiCaprio.
A quick Google of The Killers of the flower runtime can also tell you when to schedule a likely most needed bathroom break, to ensure you don’t miss a pivotal moment. Incase your wondering, many early reviewers suggest that when DiCaprio’s character is arrested and taken into custody might be a good time to quickly relieve yourself.
Others have recommended a return to interval breaks during films to combat this need for a quick break, like we already have for theatre performances or football matches. While many are in approval of this idea, if only so they can top up on snacks or take a breather from a particularly intense movie – usually this is intended for the live performers, whether on stage or on the pitch, it’s not really for the benefit of the punter.
But should this really be necessary, or is this extremely long runtime too indulgent by Hollywood directors?
While Killers of the Flower Moon is the latest movie to be criticised for it’s lengthy runtime, many fans have argued that it’s vital in order for the subject matter to be given the attention it requires and deserves.
What do YOU think? What is the optimum amount of time you would be prepared to devote your full attention to a movie for? Would you be put off seeing Martin Scorsese’s new film because of the extremely long runtime? Join the debate.