Monday, December 24, 2018

Bird Box

Movie Name: Bird Box
Year of Release: 2018
Director: Susanne Bier
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, Jacki Weaver, Rosa Salazar, Danielle Macdonald, Tom Hollander, Pruitt Taylor Vince, BD Wong, Lil Rey Howery, Parminder Nagra, Vivien Lyra Blair, Julian Edwards
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
View Trailer

Synopsis & Review:
Danish director Susanne Bier has made a name for herself with quite a few successful features, namely "Brothers" (which was remade by Jim Sheridan) and more recently "In a Better World", which won the Academy Award for best foreign film. Following the troublesome "Serena" with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, "Bird Box" is his first feature in 6 years. The film is another production from Netflix, and follows the story of Malorie, who when the film starts, is pregnant, and going to a routine checkup with her younger sister, Jessica. During their conversation they witness on the news a strange incident being reported - massive suicides occurring everywhere, unexpectedly, and seemingly all over the world. After learning everything is well with her pregnancy, Malorie and Jessica head back home, until Jessica is hit with the same virus/issue, causing them to suffer an accident, shortly followed by Jessica's death. Malorie manages to escape to a nearby house, where a few other survivors are taking hideout. The group soon realizes that whatever the virus or menace is, manifests itself through the eyesight, prompting them to start using blindfolds to walk around when outside. As the group suffers casualties, Malorie finally finds herself pursuing a hopeful chance of salvation, one that includes a dangerous journey down a river.
"Bird Box" has been compared to John Krasinski's "A Quiet Place", but even if there are some tonal similarities between both films, Krasinksi's film goes in a far showier direction than "Bird Box". Susanne Bier focuses on showcasing the ordeal of these challenges, but more circumspect to Malorie's journey (both her inner journey towards her acceptance of motherhood, and outwards, in the sense of Malorie finding an actual physical shelter for her family). The film never explains the reasoning behind the strange occurrences, or even provides a visual of what that menace actually is, which in the end is actually quite satisfying, since it makes the whole journey more focused on the resilience of the characters, more so than in the unveiling of whatever threat or alien or virus actually is or comes from. This isn't a monster film - it's a character study on how people survive in extreme circumstances, and how the bonds of motherhood are forged and nurtured. The film is really strong when it builds the relationships between all the survivors, and there's so much more material to mine from that set up, but sadly it quickly moves on to focus solely on Malorie. There isn't enough that gets flushed out from the central character, and even details such as the passing of time doesn't seem to affect the physical and emotional aspect of the character at all, but Sandra Bullock still manages to give some depth and gravitas to Malorie. The cinematography from Salvatore Totino is beautiful as is the score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Entertaining and worth watching.