Thursday, March 31, 2011

Birdy

Nicolas Cage and Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket) play Al Columbato and the movie's namesake Birdy, two unlikely high school friends brought together by lost baseballs. Al is the outgoing social type while Birdy is quiet and introverted. Both of them are drafted into the Vietnam war after highschool and the movie flips back and forth between their pre and post Vietnam relationship. Birdy seems trapped by his psychological wounds and is threatened with the possibility of being institutionalized for life. Al, physically wounded in a explosion, is trying to save Birdy by revisiting their past.

As we watch the two teens grow up in South Philadelphia, it becomes apparent the strength of their friendship lies in shared trauma: Birdy falls off the roof while collecting pigeons, both have run-ins with Al's abusive father as well as Birdy's antagonizing mother. Present-day Al refuses to give up on Birdy, insisting his friend is still there, even when threatened with being taken away himself.

I remember seeing this when I was younger and enjoying it. This was the first movie I was really looking forward to rewatching as part of the 365 Days of Cage experiment. This is also the first movie where I thought Nic Cage wasn't half bad but that could be because of the fact I was mesmerized by Matthew Modine's performance. The movie won the Grand Prix at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival and Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. The film's soundtrack was written and performed by Peter Gabriel. Definitely worth watching.

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