Lenae Day, Wendy McColm
I mean... let's call it for what it is. "Birds Without Feathers" is a strange film - and I don't mean that as a bad thing. It's very strangeness is what makes it really cool to watch. What's even more interesting, is that it's strangeness actually began to rub off on me. I don't mean I started acting all awkward and weird, like the characters in the film. What actually happened, was I began to get weirded out. Some strange creepy feeling, ever so slowly washed over me - almost the same as if I were watching a slow burning horror flick. I don't just think it was the combination of weird characters, but the way the film was actually put together. I'll get into that below but for now? A quick synopsis.
"Birds Without Feathers" at it's core is about strange and awkward people. So it's really no surprise that the film itself follows suite. But when I write strange, I actually mean social awkwardness, depression, compulsive pathology and that ever burning need to make a connection. With anyone! Who can honestly say they've never done something outrageous for attention? Now, imagine that no matter what you do... you still can't seem to cross that social barrier. You're still alone and even the smallest or dumbest form of recognition, or appreciation, means everything? Now, add the fact that the characters in the film are for the most part, unique to begin with? This film does deal with the more normal of loner personalities, but those characters are by far the more boring of the bunch. Oh - and in case you're wondering - there are a lot of main characters in this film. Perhaps a little too many.
Now, I'm no filmmaker or writer. So I don't have the right - or ability to dictate an opinion on who should have stayed, who should have went, or who should have been reduced. All I know is there's a lot going on here. This troupe of characters does intersect, but I feel their crossing paths was more an afterthought. A need to have had them there to start with. I'm not going to go into specific character details, but zeroing in on a few, and stripping one or two would have really changed the dynamic of this film. Even having one or two of the characters only used to introduce the main protagonists, would have worked. Who? I have no idea. Bottom line? A lot going on.
What I did find interesting is the story itself. It's not really a movie that tries to solve a lot. There are a few great scenes, where solving these characters problems seems top on the agenda - but... well... no spoilers. What "Birds Without Feathers" does do, is make a statement about the way things are - and what's happening today as humanity recedes deeper into itself. Maybe statement is a little strong a word... perhaps observation fits better. Some may argue that every person in this film is completely over the top. And I tend to agree - to a certain point. You see... I can't help but wonder if my opinion on these characters being ridiculously weird... is jaded by my own personal views on people. My own life. Perhaps what I consider over the top, would be considered normal life to that other person living it. Obviously, there's some dark comedy infused in this film... but how many of the gags within, would not be considered funny, to someone as socially taxed as those in this film? It's a weird kind of question, but one I was left with none the less.
The technical aspects of this movie leave little to bitch about - in my opinion. As a matter of fact? As I wrote earlier, "Birds Without Feathers" began to eventually creep me out a little. I believe this feeling has more to do with the post production work, than the story or actors involved. There's an off-beat rhythm to the edits - and the same can be said of the background audio and music. I really have no other way to describe these components except to say... off-beat. And man, in combination with the story and characters? Winning! It's one of those rare cases when the audio and edit actually become another character - like a narrator. Never taking away from the story or cast, rather complimenting. Excellent job.
The cast themselves? It's hard to judge simply because this group of characters is meant to be just south of normal. Socially that is. If I were judging the actors by their ability to feel off and wrong - aces all around ladies and gents. I'm seriously left with nothing more to write on the subject because this film - is an odd bird to start with.
When it's all said and done? Perhaps "Birds Without Feathers" is a little puffed up - but considering the content, tone, and general theme - it's amazing it works at all. Yet it does work, and works really well. That eerie quality and feeling this film oozes, is an amazing thing that definitely forces it's viewers to lock on and pay attention. I also suspect this movie will end up having one more thing going for it. Maybe a slightly different view on the subject matter, depending on who you ask. I suppose time will tell but for me? A well earned - and solid three and a half stars.