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.
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.
,Agnews State Hospital in Santa Cara ,California in 1984 Larry L. Shade