"Birdy" is a very strange film...one of the strangest ones I've ever seen. While it's not as strange as "Eraserhead", or "El Topo", it's awfully weird and will clearly NOT appeal to all viewers...or even most.
The story bounces back and forth though flashbacks. It seems that in high school, Al (Nicolas Cage) and Birdy (Matthew Modine) were very different but somehow became friends. Al liked girls and sports...and Birdy was just a misfit who cared about birds WAY too much. In fact, he was obsessed by them and their ability to fly...and over time it's obvious he wishes he could be one. In other words, Birdy just is not right!
Time passes and both young men are sent to Vietnam to fight. Al is badly injured and has naturally has a case of PTSD but Birdy's mental illness is more confusing. He was missing in action for a month and when he was discovered, he was practically comatose and unresponsive. Over time, Birdy has remained this way and out of desperation, the doctor in charge of Birdy's case at the hospital calls in Al to try to get through to him. And, much of the film consists of various flashbacks as either Al tells stories to Birdy about their youth or Birdy remembers his sick obsession about being a bird. Oddly, Al pretends to the doctor that Birdy was normal before the war...when you actually wonder if Birdy might have lost his mind even without the Vietnam War.
This is a film where I can respect what the actors did and tried to do but the film itself is just too bizarre and slow to be one I'd heartily recommend. I think there are some metaphors going on here in the story, but with my background as a mental health therapist, I just got stuck on the fact that Birdy was showing considerable signs of schizophrenia way before the war...and the experiences in Vietnam just pushed him over the edge.
Overall, a truly strange viewing experience....one for a very select audience. I give it a 4 mostly because of the excellent acting. The story itself...well, let's just say it's an acquired taste that I just couldn't acquire. I did, however, like the ending...another reason I decided to raise the score to 4.
Action / Drama / War
Action / Drama / War
Philly boys Al and Birdy became friends in high school despite the extreme difference in their personalities, Al being the popular and athletic extrovert, Birdy the antisocial "weird" introvert. Al gave Birdy his nickname because of his fascination - obsession really - with birds, especially with flight. Al and Birdy have just completed their service of duty in the Vietnam War and have returned to the States. Al sustained some serious physical injuries, which required major reconstructive surgery to his face. Birdy, however, returned from Vietnam seemingly emotionally scarred. He was missing in action for one month. He has not spoken since he was found. Despite his own medical issues, Al travels to the institution where Birdy is being kept to see if he can assist in getting Birdy out of his near comatose state. Having always had issues with authority, Al is less than forthright with the doctors about Birdy's mental state prior to the war. As Al tries whatever he can to help Birdy using tools from their shared history prior to the war, he deals with his own post-war mental state.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN