It’s been a couple of months now that Sandra Bullock’s Netflix vehicle was released and was strong enough among the Surgeons team to elevate it into the Top 5 horror movies of 2018, but not all of us had such a positive attraction to the film.
Until recently, Bird Box had remained on my Must Watch list and embarrassingly kept being pushed back when I found time to delve into a film. So, why did I keep doing this? What was propelling me away or not enticing me into the post-apocalyptic world where supernatural entities lead people to commit suicide?
Truth be told, I just found the concept uninteresting and perhaps too dark or deep. So every time I came to watch the film, I shied away to watch something else more upbeat or stimulating.
It doesn’t bode well to have these thoughts before watching a movie, but I still wanted to clear my mind and come into this fresh, but I was enticed by the fact that it was directed by Susanne Bier, who was behind the awesome The Night Manager.
Our first introduction to Bullock’s character, Malorie Hayes is a stern and strict one as she gives two children specific instructions of a troubled journey that lay ahead. It’s an interesting choice, as it doesn’t allow you to warm to her straight away. It does allow you to warm to her as you realize that our first window into her soul is a truly human one. As stark as it maybe it propels you through the narrative with her and Bullock’s performance on screen is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time.
In fact all the performances are significantly on point with all support acts given their chance to have “their moment” on screen, but particular nods should go out to Trevante Rhodes (The Predator), Sara Paulson (American Horror Story), John Malkovich who hams it up in a fantastically melancholic role, and Tom Hollander (Taboo).
Bird Box is also beautifully shot with cinematographer Salvatore Tottino exploiting ever inch of the canvas to project his vision.
Throw in a cracking score from the brilliant mind of Trent Reznor and you can fast see why my fellow Surgeons were chomping at the bit, especially with the split timeline narrative to provide the lead-up to the ordeal that Malorie faces in her blindfolded attempt to navigate the river to find sanctuary in a treacherous land that has been torn apart.
The narrative has to hang together on Bullock’s character and her performance, which it does… just. She weaves together a tumultuous tale of survival and eking out every possible emotion along the way, but ultimately the narrative does plod along and despite everyone’s best efforts feels strained and a fairly predictable outcome despite its best efforts to challenge your thoughts and opinions.
Bird Box has all the ingredients to make an incredibly powerful movie with strong performances all round, especially with Bullock leading the charge. It boasts a director at her pique with a cinematographer who can tweak out the most stunning images, but like the creatures that invoke the fear, it is all fluff and no substance. Whilst the ride is enjoyable, it doesn’t leave you with any strong connection to the movie.
- Saul Muerte