Saturday, July 11, 2015

Movie Review - Bird People

Bird People (2014)
Starring Josh Charles, Anaïs Demoustier, and Radha Mitchell
Directed by Pascale Ferran
***This films currently streaming on Netflix***

I'm not sure there has been a film that has aggravated me more in 2014 than Bird People.  I was willing to overlook the snail's pace, but when the film takes a wacky, unintelligible, and left-field twist seventy minutes in, I found myself feeling oddly taken advantage of with the equivalent of horrible prank being pulled on me.  Mind you, it's a prank that I'm sure is steeped in some wonky symbolism, but it's symbolism I didn't even come close to understanding and didn't even come close to caring about in the slightest.

To give you an idea of what kind of movie you're getting into, the first five minutes of the film is simply looking at people waiting to get on or on a subway, listening to ten second snippets of their conversations or going into their mind and "hearing" their thoughts.  The film then shifts to Gary (Josh Charles), a computer programmer who has flown to Paris on business.  After a business meeting, he returns to his hotel and attempts to go to sleep, but wakes up continuously throughout the evening suffering panic attacks.  This sets into motion of series of thoughts for Gary ending with the idea to quit his job, leave his wife and kids, and start a new fresh life in Paris seeing how his old life is causing him to be miserable and likely starting to literally kill him.

We're with Gary for about an hour and ten minutes and the slow pace is admittedly a bit torturous, but I was willing to give the film the benefit of the doubt, thinking that Gary's mid-life crisis may actually lead somewhere.  Unfortunately, I couldn't have been more wrong.  The film then abruptly switches to Audrey (Anaïs Demoustier), a maid at the same airport hotel Gary has been staying at for several days.  On Audrey's final room of her already long day, she goes up to a rooftop deck for a little fresh air when -- HUGE SPOILER ALERT (AND REASON FOR MY HATRED) --

she turns into a bird.  Yep.  No explanation given.  It just happens.  And she's a bird for the next fifty minutes as she flutters around, stopping in people's rooms at the hotel (but never Gary's!), following her co-workers home, and listening to conversations of strangers.  I don't understand the point.  I'm sure it has something to do with the mundaneness of everyday life, but I certainly didn't give a damn.


While there were other problems with the film beyond the twist (Josh Charles doesn't quite have the acting chops to really reel me in to his character, Anaïs Demoustier feels a bit too childlike in her role), it annoyed and irritated me enough that director and co-screenwriter Pascale Ferran went down this ridiculous road that I can't recommend Bird People in the slightest.  It felt like some awful trick after the viewers have become connected to Gary to suddenly have the second half of the film leave him behind completely.  While Bird People doesn't quite hold the same "heinousness" as other films I've rated an "F," it pissed me off enough that it's garnered that same grade for a different set of reasons.

The RyMickey Rating:  F

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