I finally saw “The Dark Knight Rises” last night. Nearly a month after it opened in theaters, and nearly a month after the Aurora massacre. I know that people went to the movies to see it on opening day, and weekend to show that they weren’t afraid and to not let the bad guy win. Or some were completely unafraid and believed it to be an isolated incident because in the history of cinema, this was the first of its kind.
I was neither of those people. I didn’t see TDKR right away because it somehow felt wrong to me – why should I have the privilege of seeing a movie that the victims lost their lives seeing? That was my mindset the whole time. I had spent a lot of time thinking about the tragedy, and while I felt fearful of copycats or a repeat, I was mostly filled with guilt at the thought of seeing it after what happened.
The movie was the best yet, and it was well worth the two hours and forty five minutes that I spent at the theater. However, I still felt heavy with guilt while I watched it. I found myself wondering at which part of the movie triggered the gunmen. I stared at the single exit in the theater I was in. I made sure to notice every individual in the theater, and look at their faces before I sat down. I did it quickly, so I wasn’t creepy about it, but I definitely noticed myself doing it.
I noticed all of the sounds in the theater, despite the insane volume of the movie. It was like my hearing was on high alert. It was sort of a surreal experience.
And while I appreciated the ticket-takers checking our bags before we entered the theater, it didn’t ease my mind, it just reminded me of what happened. The three times that the theater employee entered with the glowing red cone served as a stark reminder of what I hope to never experience.
So for nearly three hours I was on the edge of my seat, and it was for two reasons. One was the fact that this may have been one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen, and the second was because my nerves and guilt-filled stomach wouldn’t ever quite let me relax.
And while many people may have already forgotten what happened, filed it away in their minds, I haven’t forgotten. The media may have wilted away and are focusing on the next story, I still feel for those people in theater nine like it happened yesterday.
It’s just so devastating to me that the one of the most innocent things that anyone could do – see a movie at the theater – is now tarnished. I know it won’t stop me from going to see movies, but it definitely makes me think of the experience differently. I now will notice exit doors, and pay attention to the people’s faces that are seeing the movie with me. It will make me appreciate extra security in the theater, and will cause me to choose my seat in the theater a little differently.