After finally deciding to watch Sandra Bullock’s starred Bird Box, I went in with a full “movie theater at home” mode, hooking up my best sound system to my computer, closing the curtains to keep the room as dark as possible, and snuggling in bed, waiting for what’s going to happen.
The movie started and what I gathered out of it was that something was happening in Russia and some parts of Europe, which caused people to commit mass suicides. Nobody knew what it was, but it was happening, and hundreds of thousands were committing suicide, bringing havoc to their surroundings.
Mmmm…I’ve already seen this happen before…where was it…Oh! That’s right! In Zooey Deschanel’s starred 2008 film “The Happening”. This isn’t new for me already.
We move on with the film and we get to see how everything started. Bold move there. Sandra Bullock’s character, named Malorie, is pregnant, in the hospital for her scheduled check-up and when she is going out, she sees the first girl hitting her head against a window, until she starts bleeding profusely from her head. We don’t see her completing the act, but we know what happened as Malorie rushes out the hospital to her sister’s (Sarah Paulson, Jessica) car.
Everyone is going insane, people are starting to commit suicide not caring about the well-being of anybody else.
During this ride, we finally understand. Jessica’s phone rings, and since she is driving, Malorie reaches for it in the back of the car. Jessica sees something that we don’t get to see, and she starts to try and crash her car against everything. Now we know. Unlike what happened in “The Happening” (I giggled a little as I typed that) this time it isn’t that people breathe something that makes them want to commit suicide, in here, they actually see something that drives them insane.
The Bird Box comes in with one of the best things that have happened to stories: non-linear story-lines. I first found my love for this kind of storytelling when I watched LOST. Then, ironically, it came back when another show from the same people appeared, this time in Once Upon a Time, followed by one of my favorite DC Comics’ based show, Arrow.
We get to see the beginning of Malorie’s journey alongside two kids, who don’t have actual names as they go by Boy and Girl throughout the entire movie. She is telling the kids what they have to do, and ordering for them to simply do whatever she tells them to do, which are rather simple orders such as “never take your blindfold off” and “no talking while in the river”. We don’t have context here, but that seems rather straight forward. Even for a couple of 5 or 6 year old kids. Right?
Why will they go through the river? We get to know throughout the film, but I don’t want to spoil everything for you now, would I?
There really isn’t too much to talk about when it comes to characters. The main characters are Malorie, Boy, Girl and one of Malorie’s saviors named Tom (Trevante Rhodes) who first met Malorie when she is able to get into a house full of people who were hiding from this situation.
For these main characters, we really don’t get to know too much. Malorie is pretty much mentioned (by Jessica) to be an unattached person and we get to see this from time to time, although, she goes away from this unattached behavior quite often, something that simply makes no sense and contradicts the main idea of her character.
Boy (Julian Edwards) and Girl (Vivien Lyra Blair) are just 5 or 6 year old kids, we get to know when they were born and under which circumstances, but that’s it. We leap through time and they are 5 or 6, and the whole story begins, and there’s absolutely zero character development for them.
Tom is a “good guy” who helps save Malorie when she was still pregnant. He supports her and takes care of her, at least as much as Malorie allowed him; but why do I say he is a “good guy” in that way? Easy. Throughout the entire movie we know that he is helping her only because he likes her and not because it is the good thing to do.
The Villains of this movie aren’t necessarily the monsters we don’t get to see, but other humans. You see, it seems like some specific people are sort of immune to whatever it is these monsters do to humans to get them to want to commit suicide, and instead, they feel “saved” and start trying to get everyone to see these monsters. I’ll talk more about these guys later on.
Mostly, Bird Box will take us on a journey where we rely on sound to know what is going on. There’s really no place for music to be played, and that is a good thing. We get to hear these weird sounds when the monsters appear, we hear everything from the woods, the river, other people, but most importantly, birds.
I have no complaints about the way in which this film presented itself. There are really nice camera angles, and they decided to keep a few close-ups from people when they saw the monsters, without ever showing the monsters to us, to keep some mystery in here.
The fact that they aren’t showing the monsters can be both, a good and a bad thing. A good thing because it keeps the mystery and there are high chances of messing everything up with CGI if they decided to show what they looked like, and it is bad because we still can’t stop comparing it to so many different movies that touch similar topics.
The Elephant in the Room
After watching Bird Box I didn’t feel it was right. The movie felt excessively long, secondary characters didn’t bring anything to the story, and it was a huge waste of Sandra Bullock’s acting skills to have her paired up with such cast. Besides Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich, there’s nothing to be remembered about this movie, and all the social media fuss it is getting is certainly undeserved.