I attend film screenings all the time, but the best screenings to attend - bar the ones for films you cannot wait to see - are mystery screenings.
These usually take place during film festivals around the world (Edinburgh included) and promise a film but nothing more.
Until the BBFC card comes up on screen, the audience is kept completely in the dark as to what film they are about to see. It could be anything.
I’ve attended a fair few of these in the past and seen some weird and wonderful films as a result. It’s fair to say that I haven’t liked all of them, but that’s part and parcel of the thrill.
The most recent, however, turned out to be the extraordinary Whiplash, which opens across the UK this weekend, and left me utterly speechless.
Directed by Damien Chazelle (who is tipped to receive an Academy Award nomination), Whiplash is one of those rare films that stays with you long after the credits roll.
It trails the turbulent relationship between budding drummer Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) and Terence Fletcher (JK Simmons), his ferocious teacher.
The film is dark, powerful, unrelenting and superbly constructed as the relationship, music, editing and narrative build towards one hell of a crescendo.
JK Simmons delivers a bravura performance as Fletcher, a savage mentor who pushes and pulls Andrew (an equally fantastic Teller) in all manner of directions as sweat and blood is spilt - literally.
Mystery screenings, then, are a gamble. You could pay hard earned money to see a heap of rubbish, or - like I did one cold night - you could take a chance and be rewarded with a film as magnificent as Whiplash.
It’s your choice