HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
School's Out Forever
Breeder
Stump the Guesser
Sator
Last Warning, The
PVT CHAT
Ascent, The
Clementine
Hurt by Paradise
Saint Maud
Johnny Frenchman
Glitch in the Matrix, A
Beginning
Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris
   
 
Newest Articles
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
   
 
  Birdy I Am A Bird Now
Year: 1984
Director: Alan Parker
Stars: Matthew Modine, Nicolas Cage, John Harkins, Sandy Baron, Karen Young, Bruno Kirby, Nancy Fish, George Buck, Dolores Sage, Pat Ryan, James Santini, Maud Winchester, Marshall Bell, Elizabeth Whitcraft, Sandra Beall, Victoria Nekko
Genre: Drama, WarBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Vietnam war veteran Sergeant Al Columbato (Nicolas Cage) has been injured in combat, and now his head is swathed in bandages as he heals. He has been temporarily discharged from hospital, although he has to return next week to have his dressings removed to see how he is doing, but he has more pressing matters to concern him. Specifically his old school friend Birdy (Matthew Modine), so-called because of his lifelong obsession with birds, who is currently residing in an army mental asylum, refusing to speak and acting, well, like one of his feathered friends. Can Al bring him out of it?

Birdy is a strange little character study that for most of its length does not appear to be going anywhere in particular, and even when the end is in sight it looks to be going for the obvious. In a way it does, but damn if it doesn't grow on you the further it progresses, although that progression is extremely well hidden. It was adapted from the novel about World War II veterans (updated here for the film version) by William Wharton, although its anti-war message is, like its forward motion, very well concealed. Don't be fooled though, this has something to say.

Much of the film is taken up either with flashbacks to Al and Birdy (we never find out his real name, not even his surname) in their teenage years, or alternatively the lives they are leading now they have returned from the conflict which essentially take the form of having a close eye kept on them by the military authorities as they struggle to adapt to life after their war experiences. Cage is sincere dimwit mode here, a nice guy who is having trouble understanding what has happened to him and how he can get his friend to waken from his trancelike state.

He does, however, recognise that Birdy is losing himself in a birdlike demeanour, not by doing impressions of chickens or anything like that but by acting like a caged canary, gazing yearningly at the sky through his cell window and squatting like a pigeon on the floor. Birdy was so attached to our feathered friends that he wanted to actually be one, and after roping new pal Al into his pigeon-catching ways they begin an unusual but close relationship, not homosexual, but protective and oddly unable to acknowledge just how deep their bond goes, simply accepting it without question.

These flashbacks are little vignettes of eccentricity, apparently not adding up to anything but filling in the story that has brought them together. So we see Al and Birdy going on a date with two girls they have picked up at the beach, only for Birdy to be too weird for his temporary partner and scaring her away, or the time when they got jobs helping the dog catcher until they realised the mutts they did catch were headed straight for the dog food factory, and so forth, all well handled by director Alan Parker but you cannot help wondering yes, but where is the point? That is until you come to notice that the film is showing how a war like the one in Vietnam can ruin the dreams of a generation, whether it's Birdy's harmless infatuation with canaries, or on a wider scale, and it is their superiors who have forced them into harrowing situations that should have been entirely avoidable. The ending is well worth waiting for, a quirkily brave, tragic-turning-comic finale that makes Birdy hard to dismiss. Music by Peter Gabriel.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3991 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Alan Parker  (1944 - 2020)

Stylish British director, from advertising, with quite a few musicals to his credit: Bugsy Malone, Fame, Pink Floyd The Wall, The Commitments (possibly his best film) and Evita. Elsewhere he has opted for serious-minded works like Midnight Express, Shoot the Moon, Birdy, Angel Heart, Mississippi Burning and The Life of David Gale. The Road to Wellville was a strange attempt at outright comedy.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: