Let's see if I can cram 15 reviews in a few days
A film with a title that starts with the letters A or B
A film featuring a prominent blind character
"Every contact we have had with the outside has brought us death!"
Some time ago, a powerful entity released a mysterious force into the world. Some people were compelled to see, while others decided not to watch, instead fleeing for their lives. Those that ended up seeing, either ended up dying or forcing others to see what they had seen. The entity, of course, is Netflix, and the "mysterious force" is their latest original film titled Bird Box
, and if you saw it, you probably hated it or tried to convince others they had to see it. Released in mid-December, the film turned into some sort of viral phenomenon, sparking online discussion, heated arguments, as well as an endless barrage of memes related to its plot.
For those that haven't seen it, Bird Box
follows Malorie (Sandra Bullock), a woman that finds herself in the middle of a mysterious catastrophic event that causes people to commit suicide or hurt others, only if they *see* whatever's causing this to happen. In the middle of the chaos, she ends up seeking shelter in a house along with a group of fellow survivors. Unable to go outside safely, Malorie and the others have to figure out how to live together and how to survive. The most notable members of the group are Tom (Trevante Rhodes), a young man that develops feelings for Malorie, and Douglas (John Malkovich), an man that is reluctant to help others and becomes some sort of antagonist to Malorie. It is him the one who delivers the above quote as he warns everyone that they should avoid contact with the outside and avoid helping any stranger that stumbles upon the house.
I can probably say that Bird Box
succeeds in more ways than it fails. The premise is intriguing enough, and the first act does a great job of reeling you in, as you see the world go to hell. As the plot continues to unfold, it starts to unravel a bit. Fortunately, director Susanne Bier does enough things well to keep you interested. Her direction is tight and assured, always putting you in the shoes of the characters. Also, most of the success of the film lies on Bullock, who elevates the material with her performance. The rest of the cast is pretty solid, but somewhat underused. Rhodes has a solid performance, but not much to bite, and Malkovich hams it up enough to be entertaining, without being overly exaggerated.
Unfortunately, the way the plot develops makes you think that the writers either weren't so sure how to keep things going, or were second-guessing themselves. In a film that strives to keep most of its inner-workings a mystery, there are some notable stumbles that hinder the overall effect. First, there's a character played by comedian Lil Rel Howery that tries to explain what is happening, based on some research he was doing for a book. Unfortunately, his explanation - although not necessarily true - rings too much to writers attempting a lame exposition. In addition, Howery's performance felt a bit off when compared to the others. I kinda felt the same way about him in Get Out
, so I might just have issues with his acting. The other problem is that the film feels a bit heavy handed in its use of symbolism and metaphors, even if it doesn't fully succeed in transmitting what they want. Kinda like the filmmakers waving things in front of you for you to notice them. The resolution also felt a bit clunky, melodramatic, and in-your-face.
But taking those things aside, my visceral reaction to the film as I was watching it, was positive. I was thrilled, intrigued, and never bored by it, and that's enough for me to recommend it. That said, I think that some of the passionate reaction it has gotten from audiences in such a short time is exaggerated. The film doesn't deserve neither the mockery, nor the praise it has been getting on social media. To me, Bird Box
is a flawed, yet perfectly serviceable and intriguing thriller with some solid performances and good directing, but I suppose it's up for you to see for yourself.
, but part of me is tempted to go as high as a B+