Saturday evening, I drove from Hopewell to Richmond, all for the sake of a movie. The screening was held at the historic Byrd Theatre in the Carytown district. The theatre is one of the old time movie palaces and features a large Wurlitzer pipe organ. The Wurlitzer ascends from the orchestra pit for a brief concert before each showing.
There is not much legroom between your row of seats an the one in front of you. I guess people had shorter legs, back then. On the other hand, the popcorn is really good. I recommend getting the ‘Large’ for only $5.00.
The title to the movie was Imperium, based on the true story of Michael German. The plot concerns Nate Forester, a young and idealistic FBI agent who goes undercover to find leads on some illegally imported Caesium-137 and its relationship with active white-supremacist groups.
Nate’s character is played by Daniel Radcliffe. (Yes, THAT Daniel Radcliffe.) Moviegoers will get to see Harry Potter as a white supremacist skinhead. Sorry, but the flying broom and wizard’s wand are not included.
The movie is an edge-of-your-seat action thriller that does not disappoint. While one reviewer lamented the usual cop-goes-undercover clichés, other reviewers would have lamented their absence. If I’ve learned anything in the past year, it’s that reviewers always have to whine about something. (I should know. I’m a reviewer, too.)
One great thing about the movie is that it was largely filmed in my hometown of Hopewell, VA. The world premier of Imperium was held at Hopewell’s somewhat historic Beacon Theatre. This is the first – and probably last – time Hopewell has hosted a red carpet event.
The shots of Hopewell are mostly generic ones. In other words, if you know Hopewell, you’ll recognise much of the background. It was fun, though, seeing the interior of the (fabulous) K & L restaurant and the interior of the Hopewell Quick Lunch used in a movie. In fact, it was fun trying to guess just where certain scenes were filmed. Unfortunately, a certain historic Sears house on Oakwood Ave. was not chosen.
You don’t have to be from Hopewell, VA – or even Prince George – to enjoy this move. It’s a tense thriller with a somewhat unsettling and timely theme.
Irony Dept. – I was standing on line outside the theatre with a heavily inked couple. The Byrd was screening Willy Wonka and the discussion came to the question, “Is Gene Wilder still around. The inked male checked his smart phone & indeed, Wilder was still kicking. This afternoon, they announced the star of Young Frankenstein has left the building. He was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.