Sunday, February 9, 2020

Birds of Prey

Movie Name: Birds of Prey
Year of Release: 2020
Director: Cathy Yan
Starring: Margot Robbie, Ewan McGregor, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Ella Jay Basco, Chris Messina, Ali Wong, Steven Williams, David Ury, Daniel Bernhardt, Derek Wilson
Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 2
View the Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
The expansion of the DC Universe continues, and for every interesting foray which translates into something watchable as Todd Phillips's "Joker", there's the opposite side of the spectrum with the mediocre and just released "Birds of Prey". The film follows the story of Harley Quinn, the Joker's ex girlfriend, who at the beginning of the film, explains her falling out with said crime overlord. Once she is on her own, she finds herself the target of all of Gotham City's criminal underworld, including Roman Sionis. Roman is keen on establishing himself as the king of the underworld. She manages to buy some time, when she bargains with him, and reassures him of the delivery of a priceless diamond, which contains information to the considerable wealth left behind by a former drug lord, who was killed years back. However these deals forged in the heat of the moment are never everlasting, and Quinn is forced to join forces with a group of women, including The Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya, in order to save young Cassandra Cain, who is in possession of said diamond, and their own lives.
Cathy Yan's "Birds of Prey" is her second directorial outing, following the little seen "Dead Pigs". One of the most disappointing aspects of this film, is the lack of a truly interesting point of view from the director, one that can clearly demonstrate and establish the world of its leading character, a character that is defined by its mix of nihilism, narcissism, caos, humor and appetite for destruction. It's also a film that fails to establish the supporting characters as more than thin archetypes, where the villain has little to no motivation to actually do anything that is captured in the film, and where the same applies for the other supporting female characters in the group. It's a film that had all the ingredients to truly be fantastic and offbeat: a group of women, being able to rebel, and power through a criminally infested city under the tutelage of some patriarchal hero/villain figures (Batman and The Joker respectively). Instead, the film starts with some bite, but as it progresses, it whimpers out, and eventually by the third act, the choreographed fighting scenes are repetitive and almost reminiscent of the campy "Batman" tv show. This film needed a better script, and someone who understands that irreverence, counter culture, anarchy, isn't about bright colors and sparkles. Someone who can look at what Stanley Kubrick did with "A Clockwork Orange" and more recently what David Fincher did  with "Fight Club": irreverence doesn't have to be shouted in technicolor to be seen and felt, it actually means rocking the establishment, by illustrating the demise of its institutions (which is something that Christopher Nolan illustrated in "The Dark Knight"). Margot Robbie, for all her talent, can't elevate this material, and Ewan McGregor for the first time, actually has a bad performance captured on film. Avoid.  


Unknown said...

Thanks - I think I shall