A Bird Flew In

Review by Rich Cline | 3.5/5

A Bird Flew In
dir Kirsty Bell
prd Ben Charles Edwards
scr Dominic Wells, Elizabeth Morris
with Jeff Fahey, Kirsty Bell, Julie Dray, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Daniel Ward, Michael Winder, Camilla Rutherford, Sadie Frost, Derek Jacobi, Bill Fellows, Morgana Robinson, Frances Barber
release UK Oct.21 rff
21/UK 1h35

clark frost jacobi
raindance film fest

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With a gentle tone that mixes in humour and emotion, this British drama tells several inter-connected lockdown stories. Shot in striking black and white, the film looks great and features a fine eclectic cast. Many scenes are heightened with a poetic sensibility, which adds an artistic touch that's more deliberate and sometimes feels indulgent. But the situations depicted have an involving quality that is easy to identify with.
After wrapping production on a film, the cast and crew heads home. Most find themselves alone in their houses, separated far from each other. Actor Peter (Fahey) feels adrift without a director to call action, trying to work up the courage to contact actress Anna (Dray), who has gone to Paris. Another actress, Rebecca (Rutherford), only has a teddy bear for company. Stuck in Australia, Drew (Fellows) harangues his UK-based filmmaker wife Naomi (Bell) over the phone about finding a real job. And Ari (Clark) is feeling suffocated isolating with her over-attentive boyfriend Rick (Ward).
Each story strand has a dramatic element that boils over along the way, giving each tale a kick that's compelling even if it's a bit gimmicky. And there are other stories in the background, such as the editors (Frost and Robinson) who flirt online and deal with their own issues as they shape the footage. There's a wordless strand about Miles (Winder) watching a woman on spy-cams. And there are occasional glimpses of costar David (Jacobi), who has holed up at his house in rural France.

Performances have an earthy quality that keeps them realistic, as the actors fully inhabit their roles, performing largely on their own with much of the interaction through telephones or video chats. The most powerful story involves actual human interaction, as Clark and Ward struggle with their badly clashing attitudes to the things they are dealing with. And Winder's story combines creepy voyeurism with some surprisingly deeper feelings. Not all of the plot threads feel complete, but each raises salient issues.

A wide range of feelings, both light and dark, surge throughout these stories. Decisions are made that are momentous and inconsequential, bringing relationships together and breaking them apart as the months pass. In the end, as restrictions ease, each character has to face the future as it relates to the previous months. These are highly emotive scenes, very nicely shot and played to tie up a range of loose ends, sometimes with a nice small and other times in much more haunting ways.

cert 15 themes, language 1.Nov.21 rff

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© 2021 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall