Bird Box (2018) Movie Review - Cebu X-Geeks

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Monday, January 7, 2019

Bird Box (2018) Movie Review



Directed by Susanne Bier
Produced by Chris Morgan, Scott Stuber, Dylan Clark, Clayton Townsend
Screenplay by Eric Heisserer
Based on Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Starring Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Vivien Lyra Blair, Julien Edwards, Danielle Macdonald, Lil Rel Howery, Jacki Weaver, Rosa Salazar, Colson Baker, B. D. Wong, Tom Hollander, Sarah Paulson

Post-apocalyptic movies normally pique my interest as soon as the first trailer shows up online, but Bird Box was a notably curious exception. I was far from excited when I first heard about it. The trailer had been up on YouTube for several weeks before I finally decided to check it out, and when I did, I still wasn’t sold. There were the similarities in premise between this movie and another sci-fi/horror film that came out months ahead (A Quiet Place, in case you didn’t get it; just replace sound with sight), coupled with the spoilery nature of the clips spliced together (e.g., clearly Sarah Paulson’s character wasn’t going to make it past the first act). Ultimately, what really hooked me—albeit graspingly—was the fact that Eric Heisserer (Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Arrival) had penned the script. But the hype on social media following its release was very real, with accompanying memes aplenty, so I decided to give it a shot.

It turned out a lot better than I expected. True, Bird Box is riddled with clich├ęs and genre conventions. Plus, it leaves the audience with so many unanswered questions, you’ll be left wondering if a lot of material was left on the cutting room floor or omitted from the script. What ultimately saves this film are the performances of the ensemble cast. Sandra Bullock’s Malorie, though not immediately likable, is a well-rendered protagonist one warms up to soon enough. Trevante Rhodes’s Tom, meanwhile, proves a remarkable foil and love interest for her. Douglas—played to assholery perfection by John Malkovich—is the Trump supporter you didn’t know you’d end up begrudgingly respecting, maybe even adoring.

And just like A Quiet Place, family lies at the heart of Bird Box, though such themes aren’t as satisfactorily fleshed out here, given how many characters there are the narrative needs to juggle. Still, one must take into account how their names (most anyway) and disparate personalities stick with you long after the movie ends, which speaks to how unforgettable these strangers are to us in the brief time we get to know them.

Score: 7/10


About the Reviewer

Charles SanCheese is an avid reader, student of literature, and pop-culture vulture. He works as a copy editor in Mandaue City and has lived in Cebu his whole life. 

He has authored several essays, short stories, and lengthier works of fiction, all of which can be found in the grand annals of his personal hard drive. Follow him on Twitter at @charlesancheese.

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