Birds of Prey (2020)
Sitting on the train waiting for it to leave London Bridge, seasonal sensations beguiled me. A hot, damp atmosphere that no amount of window opening would abate and a fucking mask which yes is responsible but is also no fun; like condoms. Opening train windows requires a lot of hand sanitiser, too, but that’s not Coronavirus. I just like hand sanitiser. Despite these piercing life conundrums, I found time to engage with nature.
Right before the doors shut, a jaunty little winged fellow strolled into the carriage. Not a bird of prey- but a pigeon. Oh no, I thought, once this thing gets rolling he’s gonna be flapping about going mad, but he didn’t. Calmly wandering around having a gander, which is another bird which isn’t a bird of prey, I was rather taken with him. Is he a him? I thought it rude to check but it got me thinking about Birds of Prey the film, which I watched a few weeks ago.
Firstly, I thought it was sexist to call women “birds”? Or is the film reclaiming it? Secondly, was it sexist of me to assume the pigeon was a male? If he was a she would it then be sexist to call her bird, or is it like dogs where they don’t mind being called bitches?
Birds of Prey, the film. I will be ignoring the full title because Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn was clearly written by someone deep into a drugs bender. It’s fitting really, because the whole film feels as if it’s been made by someone whose acid trip went dark and violent. Brilliantly dark and violent. And a bit sexual. Ok quite sexual.
I wasn’t sure about renting Birds of Prey at all because of the DC decline; having hated every DC movie since Man of Steel, with the possible exception of Aquaman which grew on me like a limpet. I’m so fickle though, that the idea of a fifteen certificate meant at least the potential for more grown up violence. Plus I quite liked the look of the lead character in the trailer, and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is an absolute treat. Utterly unhinged and totally entertaining.
I don’t know what shins did to upset Harley Quinn but she hobbles so many men the movie should come with a trigger warning for James Caan.
Ewan McGregor plays the main baddie (although Quinn has a long list of enemies), Ronan Sionis, and he does well to bring a balance of stupid, clever, creepy and suave. You never know which way he’s going to go down the final stretch of the story.
The story, for what it is, has less of a grip on reality than Donald Trump, unlike Donald Trump it is good, silly fun and in no way a danger to humanity. Birds of Prey is packed with humour, stylish action and some memorable characters. I particularly enjoyed Ella Jay Basco’s sticky fingered Cassandra Cain; Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Jurnee Smollett round out the gang of good girls. Good girls doesn't sound right does it.
There’s a lovely Pulp Fiction nod, good enough that I wrote down that there’s a lovely Pulp Fiction nod, but not good enough that when I write my notes up I can remember it.
Only pipped by Man of Steel (it’s in 3D and Supes flying in 3D is fucking awesome) Birds of Prey is the best entry in the DC comic series.
Yes. 8/10. I’m so distracted now wondering if the pigeon was lost once he got off the train. "This isn't London Bridge". Or was he going to Coulsdon Town deliberately? You’d think he’d fly. I’d fly if I could. And I’d film it in 3D.
Google is being a cunt and won't let me hyperlink without then deleting random text but READ SOME MORE BEDSIT CINEMA REVIEWS please.
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