Women telling women’s stories is one term we have been hearing in the recent past about more women directors and writers coming with exciting ideas. All those movies had that peculiarity in terms of craft which made them unique. Directed by Cathy Yan, written by Christina Hodson and coproduced by leading lady Margot Robbie, Birds of Prey is this Deadpool equivalent irreverent fun stuff from DC. With a thoroughly entertaining narrative that goes really into the characters, Birds of Prey is peculiar and outright hilarious.
So Harley Quinn has broken up with Joker and she has gone through that depression face and is now trying to revamp things. Harley is crazy and we get to see a number of people trying to attack her for all the stuff she did to them. If I start to tell more about the story there won’t be anything left for you to enjoy. So the basic thing here is that there is a gangster named Roman Sionis and he needs a diamond from a kid who is a pickpocket. Roman trying to get it and Harley and her Birds of Prey gang trying to save this little girl is the plot of Birds of Prey.
The screenplay is an interesting mess I would say. If you look at it, you can see that they have deliberately stretched the screenplay to give space to each character. But the good thing is that the movie never lingers onto anything and it swiftly shifts gears and the humor helps it a lot. Maybe because the movie was made by a bunch of women, the character dynamics here have a slightly different texture. Even though it is that fast-paced avengers met ghostbusters kind of movie, there was enough in the screenplay to register each character. While the suicide squad sort of offered absolute boredom, here things are a lot more entertaining and exciting. Harley’s mode of attack and the stunt sequences are exquisitely choreographed wonderfully captured and they all had that comical angle to it which prevented the movie from entering that exhausting space.
This is Cathy Yan’s second feature film and what’s impressive about her approach was that she understood the crazy quotient the movie sort of demanded. Christina Hodson is subtle in her approach towards depicting those feminine elements in the movie and the usually empathetic dialogues we hear from female characters were placed at the least expected places; lines like “Having a kid around does feel good”. LGBTQ representation is also there in the movie and the movie isn’t making a huge fuss about it. Just like how male-driven movies used to give less space to women, here we have that problem when it comes to the character Roman Sionis. But for the time being, I will take that as a tit for tat approach. The visuals are stunning and I loved the wacky color palette.
Margot Robbie as the queen of madness Harley Quinn is a delight to watch as she seems to be having a great time doing the fourth wall breaking the narrative. The narrative this time has more interest in making us understand each character on a better level and Robbie’s performance made Quinn slightly more appealing. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is Helena Bertinelli and Rosie Perez is Renee Montoya and both these characters had this spoofy angle in their presentation. Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary was convincing. Even though I hated the less space given to Ewan McGregor as Roman Sionis, his performance was pretty nice.
On the whole, Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is that fun R-Rated superhero film. It might be in the same zone of a Deadpool, but that doesn’t make it feel like a movie that wants to replicate similar fun. There is a fearless approach in the making of this movie and I hope DC will preserve that for future movies as well.
There is a fearless approach in the making of Birds of Prey and I hope DC will preserve that for future movies as well.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended