Birdy - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Birdy Reviews

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April 25, 2017
Takes too long to peak and when it does it's for a few moments. Depressing in general.
½ August 5, 2016
Although it may seem silly at times due to the peculiar subject in which it explores real emotions and feelings, Parker allways had great skill in depicting human decadence and how the mind breaks with ease, and that is a good enough reason to appreciate what he presented here.
½ April 28, 2016
The flashbacks are much more interesting than the angsty awards-bait of the mental asylum sections, and they slowly move to the background as the movie goes along so it gets a bit insufferable in the third act. Birdy is a pretty fascinating character at first, but his obsession gets so absurd there's a point at which I became more sympathetic to all the people calling him a nut who needed to get out of the house. Cage is good.
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.
January 22, 2014
Birdy was a film which caught my eye while I was studying up for my psychology exam and I figured that after exam period was over I would take the time to watch it.

Birdy seems like an ambitious attempt at a film, but I found myself quickly growing weary of it due to the way the story constantly flips back and fourth between what is actually happening and what has happened in the past. It takes so long to reveal just what trauma made Birdy go insane that by the point that its been revealed I frankly didn't care anymore. The story is more focused on establishing a connection between Birdy and birds than it is on connecting him to anything else, and it plays in themes of the Vietnam war so lightly that they fail to make an impact. Birdy could have been simple if it had of focused on its key elements, but it has too many elements it attempts to fit in when it simply could have stuck to the simple elements of exploring the complex psychology that goes on in Birdy's head as a result of his relationship with Al as well as with birds, instead of putting all the focus into birds. Even though that's a title, a film about brotherhood and loss of innocence in the Vietnam War can simply not be putting the most of its focus on Birds.
Birdy drags its story about Birds for too long and doesn't show off what Alan Parker is good at because it's easy for any filmmaker to put together a piece like this, and a lot of people would find it more sensible to develop its story more and not end it so abruptly. But he does have a strong pair of leads lined up to add certain compelling elements to Birdy.
Nicolas Cage is great in Birdy. His line delivery is basic, but the way he can make audiences sympathise with him due to his connection to the titular character Birdy is very powerful. Nicolas Cage shows off some of the charisma which made him an international star in his youth in Birdy, and him starring in a very character driven story reminds us what makes him an Academy Award winning actor. He's a great presence in Birdy.
Matthew Modine also gives a good performance as the titular Birdy. Although his character seems like a drafted version of a serious psychological figure who could have been explored a lot more, Matthew Modine does manage to nail all of the complex physicality and shorthanded insanity which can be seen in his facial gestures. You can tell by his shell that he is a complex figure, and had Birdy been a better story he could have impressed viewers very well, like he did in his career high point Full Metal Jacket. Birdy asks a lot of humanity questions, and Matthew Modine answers most of then when the film comes up short.
The chemistry between these two actors is also strong, a real brotherly bond which ties the story together. That's what most of the strength in the story is reached from.
The cinematography is also good, and some strong locations are used to host Birdy's visuals which assists in ensuring that it is in fact a good visual experience.

But despite decent visuals and a talented pair of leads, Birdy is too focused on Birds to explain their importance in the story or even focus on what is better and more important in the story than simple Birds.
November 26, 2013
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 October 18, 2013
Grand Prix du Jury a Cannes en 1984, Birdy est un film admirable sur le retour du Vietnam vu a travers les yeux de deux amis d'enfance, joues par les excellents Matthew Modine et Nicolas Cage. La musique de Peter Gabriel est excellente et certaines sequences sont particulierement reussies. Malheureusement, le film se traine dans la deuxieme heure et la symbolique du film est trop lourdement assennee. Un peu plus de finesse n'aurait pas ete de refus.
May 16, 2013
Nothing is imposible!
½ April 17, 2013
Perhaps my biggest frustration with the film is the fact there is no reason given for Birdy's obsession nor does it seem to mean anything. Modine himself does a fine job with the role, but the character and the story become boring because it's just one episode of Birdy acting insane after another. His desire to fly doesn't seem to stem from a desire to escape (he voluntarily cages himself up and makes no effort to leave his insulated world), nor from a desire to explore. His obsession doesn't play into the story's outcome (had he been a pyromaniac or a schizophrenic, the plot wouldn't have changed). Sure, in life there aren't always clear answers, but I simply don't feel like it makes for a good story. Cage is alright, but not enough to carry the post-war scenes. Parker's direction soars during the flight sequences (hardy har har), and the coming-of-age scenes are relatively entertaining (if somewhat repetitive). Lastly, Peter Gabriel's music is pretty good, but the same instrumental version of "The Rhythm of the Heat" is used at least four or five times, and yet I am not even sure if "Floating Dogs" from the soundtrack album is heard even once (disappointing since it is my favourite track).
April 17, 2013
Directed by Alan Parker, who had just come off the nightmarish production of Pink Floyd-The Wall (1982), Parker decided he wanted to do a simple character piece for his next film, nothing complicated. Based on William Wharton's 1978 bestselling novel, Parker came off this film rejuvenated and refreshed, and it would set the scene for what would come next in Angel Heart (1987) and Mississippi Burning (1988). As a teenager, Al Columbato (Nicolas Cage) became friends with local eccentric Birdy (Matthew Modine), who has an obsession with birds, and he wants to fly like a bird. Even though Al is at first scornful of Birdy's dreams and ambitions, he takes part in his experiments in the slums of Philadelphia. However, after they both enlist to fight in Vietnam, everything changes. After both being injured in an operation, Al suffers facial injuries while Birdy suffers a traumatic shock, and he's sent to a mental home, where he now believes he's a bird. Al travels to the mental hospital in an attempt to try and snap Birdy out of his locked in state of mind. It's a near heartbreaking film, and it shows Cage could turn in a powerful, gut-wrenching performance, and that Modine is a truly underrated actor. It's topped off with an eerie score by Peter Gabriel, and some great direction by Parker, who captures the era well.
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.
November 20, 2012
A great buddy film-very well-acted by Matthew Modine & Nicholas CAge.
October 16, 2012
This is a classic movie w/ the late Bruno Kirby who portrayed a orderly; such as myself; i had the wonderful oppotunity to work and act on this movie filmed in a real mental instituion

,Agnews State Hospital in Santa Cara ,California in 1984 Larry L. Shade
½ September 24, 2012
A weirdly touching film
August 23, 2012
Enjoyable friendship story with a strange psychological edge, but it is also makes wider observations about trauma.
Super Reviewer
½ April 18, 2012
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 March 14, 2012
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.
February 20, 2012
Birdy. What an interesting character. One of the most aggravating things about starting out with the film is trying to nail down his character. He wasn't talking, so why did he suddenly decide to start talking? Why is he just hanging out in the tree? Is his obsessions with birds going to be any more than just a flat obsession to give the film a quirky edge? Matthew Modine plays the character Birdy like he was born to play the role. There is so much compassion he gives the character. Whether he is silent in the hospital, or naked with the birds, we always feel something for him. He might be strange, but he's so lovable. I know that I wanted the entire time for him to find some sort of happiness. What was really great about the character was the fact that his parents are normal. His father is a janitor at his school and his mother is a little nuts about baseballs flying into their yard. Neither parent is too harsh on Birdy. They just want him to be happy. So we come to the conclusion that Birdy wants to be a bird because that's just who he is. He wants the freedom of flying. At one point he sees the baby birds being hatched and says they fly not because of their wings, but because they know they can. I think more could have been fleshed out here. I get that he's not like everyone else just because that's who he is. It's an interesting statement to make. However, I still felt like something was missing. And I thought it was silly that Birdy and Al were played by Nicolas Cage and Matthew Modine when they first met. Al was definitely acting like he was either just starting high school or maybe a little younger. It was funny to see him whine about getting the ball back. It also would have helped showing the progression of their relationship. As Al gets older he becomes more frustrated about not getting sex, while Birdy is moving closer to his love with birds that he doesn't care about sex. This leads to their eventual separation. The film makes a truthful observation, but it's nothing we haven't seen in war films before. When Birdy goes to Vietnam he sees the bombing of a forest and birds flying away. This destroys him. How could people act this way? Better shut himself up and let society live without him. Al tries to tell him that's no way to live. They can be together and leave everyone, but he can't live in that mental institution hooked on drugs. Nothing new, but still a good way to put it with this strange character. And the ending is hilarious. It has a good sense of humor about itself when you see Birdy jump. You think he has finally killed himself, but nope, there is just a lower ledge he jumped to. Birdy is a decent film, but some things seem to drag and play out a little stiff. I still enjoyed it.
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