Birdy Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 24, 2007
Real great performances by Matthew Modine and Nic Cage (I know right?), the movie however just isn't my cup of tea.
Super Reviewer
January 11, 2011
This movie has a realistic feel, as it tells the story of two friends, one of which is insane and thinks he's a bird. I saw this on TV the other day, I thought the characters were interesting, but the story was slow and boring. Overall it's an okay movie, though.
Super Reviewer
July 29, 2007
Incredibly touching story about two friends whose lives were destroyed by war. Alan Parker's direction is flawless, as well as the performances and the soundtrack. An emotional roller coaster ride that feels more genuine every time.
Super Reviewer
July 16, 2007
Ever feel totally alone...except in your own head? So did Birdy (played by Matthew Modine). Stuck in a world where he feels he does not belong growing up tethered to the ground by gravity he seeks escape through flight. The flight is as spiritual as it is physical as Birdy makes every effort to run from this world he did not create. He finds one true friend (Played by Nicholas Cage), someone who accepts him unconditionally. This friend (though he has a name there is no use for them in this film) is Birdy's only grounding to a world which holds the horrors of bullies grown up to play with adult toys of war. Birdy's Psyche, wrenched in anger and anguish, trying to come to terms with the things that he cannot understand by seeing them through the eyes of a spirit he can understand...that of a bird...so caged. All of this is set masterfully against Peter Gabriel's soundtrack which is simply his album, "Security," revamped for the film without the lyrics. Interestingly enough though, for those Gabriel fans out there, if you listen to Security and truly read the lyrics it will help you to understand the film. The haunting melody of Wallflower, a song depicting a person who has been institutionalized and is asked to maintain his spirit and not break nor bend to the will of the "keepers" plays throughout this film (sans lyrics of course). "6 by 6 from wall to wall, shutters on the windows no light at all, there's damp on the floor and there is damp in the bed, they're trying to get you crazy get you out of your head...Hold on..." I found this film on cable about 19 years ago and found myself crying. It is truly that moving. Also, like so many good films, the book is excellent as well.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ June 24, 2011
Though it is an interesting study on the human mind and a slick combination of a variety of genres, the film isn't as special as it promises to be, as it suffers from some underdevelopment, some cheesiness, some overdrawn segments, a cop-out ending and underwhelmingness. Still, it is is supported by very good music, a strong story, compelling characters and a solid final act, in spite of the ending. Still, the real power behind this film is the drama led by Matt Modine and Nick Cage. The film explores a varity of subgenres of drama. The film touches on the friends' coming-of-age, experience in war and the terrible aftermath of this war. The film explores genuine human struggles in many shapes and froms and the transitions feel smooth and don't get in the way of the emotional impact, which still would have been stronger if the rest of the film wasn't executed so underwhelmingly.

Oh man, I hate this review. This bad review should tell how underwhelming this is. I was really looking foward to this and yet, here we are. Still, "Birdy", though nothing too special, remains a moving portrait on friendship and the desire for freedom in many situations, led by strong performances from Cage and Modine.
Super Reviewer
½ December 19, 2007
Okay, you have Modine who loves birds and is so shaken up in 'Nam that he starts acting like a bird. Then you have Cage who's his bestest mate and tries to help him out while dealing with his own recollections of the war. It's a good film. Bit weird, but good.
½ November 29, 2010
This movie is probably better than my impression of it. Intensely symbolic and allegorical, darkly comic at times, with a strong anti-war message. The ending was awesome.
September 13, 2010
Loved this movie from begining to end, this shows what true friendship is all about, Awesome performances by Matthew Modine and Nicolas Cage, no wonder these two men became such great actors.
½ August 23, 2008
VERY unusual Nicholas Cage movie. It was entertaining. I'll give it that. Can't say I was happy about how it ended. It's a little strange. None the less it's a good movie.
December 31, 2007
Was that Nicolas Cage? Lordy. Well, I saw this movie because of Matthew Modine. I fell in love with him after seeing "Gross Anatomy" and "Vision Quest." This is a pretty slow movie so I can't recommend it but it's not horrible either. I guess it's okay. Meh.
September 29, 2007
This movie was on my very first top ten list of favorites. This movie had a huge impact on me and my life.
February 26, 2007
Wow, Nicolas Cage and Matthew Modine both turn in fantastic performances in this 1984 movie. I really liked the movie.
April 28, 2014
Great script. Top notch acting. And quality production value. They pulled it off very well.

It isn't your usual Hollywood tale, but they told it using standard visuals, but still made it special. The mark of a great script and director who didn't get in the way by trying to do too much visually. It is based on an experimental novel worth reading, and the movie did a good job capturing its unique qualities.
October 14, 2007
En Mà (C)xico se llamó 'Alas de libertad'. Prefiero Birdy, no solo porque debieron respetar ese nombre propio, aunque fuera una especie de apodo. No recuerdo que se mencionara su nombre de pila. Creo que a Birdy no le quedo otra opción que quedar en el cascaron. Es como si sus representaciones del mundo se hubieran destruido (cuando las aves que volaban fueron calcinadas por una bomba, junto con mucha gente, en la guerra de Vietnam). Sorprendete como Al consigue dar ese viraje a la situación tan rápida y consistentemente. Sà (C) que a muchos el final les parecio tonto, sin embargo, tiene tanta frescura, autenticidad y gimmick espontaneo que no dudo que Birdy ahora si volara, pero en otro registro que lo regrese al mundo. Maravillosa.
½ February 19, 2013
I think this is Parker's best work- an interesting and rare-gem with terrible haircuts but some very series work. It's dark and obscure but it knows it and embraces it. Modine has to receive the credit for this one- his full commitment to the rule is deadly serious and takes away any chance of this being unintentionally funny. Cage plays his role well but he is certainly at the side here. When you are working from a novel of such maturity the odds of the film retaining that fully are slim- this film beats the odds, the depth in this one allows it build up naturally without ever feeling rushed.
½ October 22, 2010
Interesting to see what the movie is not: it tacles the Vietnam war, yet it is not a war/anti-war movie, takes place in a mental institution, yet it is not about mental ilness either, follows the story of two friends, but it sais very little about friendship, however it is a beautifully crafted character-driven film and in spite its obvious oddities it feels believable and not gratuitous.
½ March 6, 2012
It's a film about a guy who comes back from Vietnam mentally shattered - but 'Birdy' was mentally shattered before Vietnam.
December 14, 2011
very interesting but a bit depressing.
½ November 8, 2011
Remember When Nicolas Cage Could Act? And Was Ripped?

I know people who believe that every other Nicolas Cage movie is worth watching. I don't think it's quite that easy; for one thing, I think that his career average of good movies has varied more wildly than that over the history of his career, and he's now down below 50%. The thing is, though, that when he's good, he's really good. He's a fine, talented actor who just happened to have a weakness for really crappy movies. I mean, he's also nuts, which I can't think helps the situation. But I watch movies like this and wonder what the cause is on things like that. Is it that he's nuts? Or is it that he has bad taste in scripts? And does Nicolas Cage ever realize how terrible the movie is while he's making it? I think not, on that last, because he was apparently quite enthusiastic on the set of [i]The Wicker Man[/i], giving suggestions which actually managed to make it a worse movie. Which I have to say is pretty impressive.

Here, he is Al Columbato, a Vietnam veteran who was horribly scarred when a shell went off mere feet away from him. This was so recently that his face is still bandaged, but he is sent to a different VA hospital--this one for mental illness. His best friend, who goes by the nickname of "Birdy" (Matthew Modine), has completely retreated into himself. At first, they didn't even know who he was. And so they send for Al in the hopes that he will draw Birdy out. And indeed, Al recognizes the behaviour for what it is; Birdy is nesting. As he tries to snap Birdy out of it, for his benefit as well as Birdy's, the story of their friendship is told in flashbacks. We discover that Birdy was never normal, was always obsessed with birds and flying. We also learn that Al is none too stable himself and is afraid that the doctor (John Harkins) will discover that and lock him up as well. He also believes that he, unlike Birdy, would at least have a chance to get out; unless Birdy snaps out of it, he never will.

Apparently, the novel is about World War II veterans, but I have to say that I think setting it during Vietnam works even better. After all, one of the reasons that Al, at least, is so messed up is that he doesn't know what he was fighting for. You could see the reasons for World War II, especially if you were fighting in the European Theatre of Operations and were in one of the units which liberated a concentration camp. But Vietnam was less certain. In essence, we were fighting to stop the spread of an idea, and that's a lot harder to justify, especially if you aren't the sharpest tool in the shed. And Al isn't very bright and Birdy isn't very stable, and the war does bad things to them both. Too, Vietnam had a lot of use of napalm, which killed birds and their habitats, and that would not go over well with someone obsesses with all things avian. I've not read the book, but I think the changes are minor for most of the story and beneficial for the rest. And, of course, most of what happens in the boys' adolescence is timeless.

Al has a drunken, vicious father (Sandy Baron). Birdy has a surly, domineering mother (Dolores Sage). This is the background of the boys' life, though Birdy does have a very happy relationship with his father (George Buck). Birdy's mother probably wants him to be normal, but she can't just berate him into it, much though she may try. She also disapproves mightily of Al, who is Birdy's only human friend, and wants him to make other human friends and stop associating with Al or the birds. But as we see when Birdy goes to the prom, he doesn't know how to relate to other humans. Doris Robinson (Maud Winchester), his date, pretty much throws herself at him, and he doesn't respond in the way she'd hope. By which I mean he basically doesn't respond. And when she asks if she'll see him again, he says of course she will. On school on Monday. You don't have to be Mr. Smooth to know that it isn't exactly the answer Doris is looking for.

But of course, the character never gets a name other than "Birdy." The only character he really relates to entirely is Perta (Bird No. 9, according to the credits), and the woman who sells Perta to him (whose name I missed) tries to encourage him to buy a different bird. "Fliers aren't good breeders," she says, and she tells him that Perta is a heartbreaker. (Of course, the woman has a slightly odd perspective on bird reproduction, given her references to the Bible.) Al knows that to reveal that Birdy has already had an incident where he believed he could fly would be one more bar in Birdy's cage. But it also means that he is not surprised that, when Birdy needs somewhere safe from the world, he retreats into his head and his dreams of flight. Then again, maybe if he'd reminded Birdy that he had a human name, that might have helped matters as well. And might not have suggested to the hospital staff that maybe they were dealing with a preexisting condition.
July 4, 2010
Alan Parker nous raconte une bien jolie histoire, celle d'une gueule cassée tentant de faire retrouver la raison à un ami d'enfance. Ami d'enfance qui se prend pour un oiseau ...d'où le titre du film.
Il est heureux que le scénario ne s'essouffle jamais car le reste (réalisation, musique ...) est très classique, s'accordant certes avec le propos mais ne motivant pas vraiment le spectateur a rester.
Il faut également saluer Cage et Modine qui transcendent le script et sont le vrai atout de ce long métrage.
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