Just been watching…(93)

Bird Box (2018)

***No spoilers***

As I have recently gained access to Netflix, I thought I would try out some of its ‘exclusive’ films. This film has had mixed reviews, mostly bad ones, but I wanted to see for myself. It was free after all, and I could just turn it off if I didn’t like it. I started the film with limited expectations. Never a huge fan of Sandra Bullock, and I have seen almost every ‘Post-Apocalyptic’ thriller going. But John Malkovich was in it, so it had to be worth trying.

The film begins close to the end, and flashes back to how we got there. I don’t mind that construction, though you have to be alert to the words ‘Five years earlier’ appearing on screen. If you turned away as that popped up, it may initially have been a little confusing.

There has been a worldwide disastrous event. People have been ‘seeing something’ and it causes them to immediately commit suicide, in any way available. In the flashback segments (they appear early on, so are not spoilers) we see deliberate car crashes, various people jumping out of windows, and others using everything from guns to solid objects to kill themselves. Most of these are very well done, leaving the viewer shocked and surprised. There is little or no explanation as to what might be causing this phenomenon, but one constant is that people ‘see’ something, and when they do, they kill themselves by using whatever means are available.

Bullock plays the lead role of Malorie, a gifted artist, and a pregnant single mother. After the disaster makes its way to North America, she eventually finds refuge in the home of a man unaffected, discovering a mixed group of other people who are also sheltering there. From this point, the film takes the turn into a familiar ‘siege’ scenario, with the terrified group avoiding contact with outsiders, and bickering among themselves. But we are made aware that people must protect themselves by never looking outside. When they do venture out, they must all wear blindfolds, or cover their eyes. Failure to do this for even the shortest time means that they will see whatever it is people see, and kill themselves seconds later. For our benefit, the action flashes forward five years, so we get to see how Malorie is progressing later on. Then it returns to the dire situation the group finds itself in.
Without any spoilers, that’s more or less all I can say.

“Drum roll”.

I actually liked it! Despite everything I had read that put it down, this film had real tension throughout, and every cast member took it very seriously. The ‘blindfold world’ is a neat idea, and the difficulties of existing when unable to look at anything felt authentic. Set pieces were suitably dramatic, but use of CGI was limited, and that made things feel ‘real’. Deciding not to show ‘the monsters’, was a solid choice, leaving us with a sense of unease about what could actually be out there. In fact, we could make up our own ideas about the unseen force that is attacking mankind. Bullock was intense, but she always is. Malkovich was great, just being his usual villainous self, and everyone else seemed to fit in nicely. British actor Tom Hollander relished his short but very effective role, lifting the latter segment of the film completely. As Sandra is fifty years old, choosing her to play a first-time mum was a bit of a stretch, but so what.

And the Bird Box of the title? They discover that birds sense the presence of the ‘monsters’. By keeping them close, in a small box, their agitated cheeping gives early warning of impending disaster. Not unlike taking canaries down a mine. Nice touch.

57 thoughts on “Just been watching…(93)

    1. Nice to see you back, V. It’s not a ‘Wow’ film, but a lot better than the gainsayers gave it credit for. It is only a ‘one-watch’ film because you have seen the ending. Otherwise, tension is high, and Tom Hollander and John Malkovich are on great form. πŸ™‚
      Cheers, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it Pete, Tom and I did as well. I read the book five years ago when it first came out and there are some differences including the ending. The book is actually much darker than the movie.

    I’d be lost without Netflix. While they do have some bombs, I think the quality shows and movies far outweigh the bad. Right now we’re binging on Broadchurch.☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, Broadchurch. Olivia Colman again. She’s in everything! She’s good though. I am less enamoured with David Tennant, and find him very ‘smug’ in real life. But I did watch the entire series, just for everyone else in it, especially Pauline Quirke.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Funny how a comment said “never will have” Netflix…why? Because they allow you to stream hundreds of hours of content into your home, including many new films and TV shows, for under $15 a month? Not sure what is so offensive about that….that said, “Bird Box” is the most-viewed movie of all time on the service

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Pete, the story here int he US is that Netflix knows how many people are getting it free from other subscribers but they don’t care because it just grows the brand…and as I’ve told you, for such a small amount of money they really do give you a ton of options…are they all good? of course not, but it’s a great way to sample without being charged!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Pete, my wife and I are watching “Sex Education” on Netflix right now. A British series that’s pretty funny – oh, and it proves just how liberal Netflix is – you can also see the uncut version of Gaspar Noe’s “Love” – very ponderous but also extremely graphic

            Liked by 1 person

  3. We really enjoyed it, Pete, and funnily enough, I made the same age/baby comment though my husband thought I was being overly critical. We both felt exactly the same regarding messrs Malkovich and Hollander. We started off with low expectations but are generally prepared to watch anything with John Malkovich. Great review. Cheers, E.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Pete, I saw the movie recently – with mixed feelings.
    The whole time very exciting! But if you think about it, it’s just very scary!

    Today I want to watch “Carol” with Cate Blanchett.
    I think that’s a bit of a shallow movie – perfect for a relaxing Saturday night with a glass of red wine on the sofa! πŸ™‚
    Best wishes, Irene

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I heard it was bullocks and I’m currently binging on ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” which lives up to the hype.
    I think some of the reason why it got bad press was that people said it was a bad rip off the recent film ‘A Quiet Place’. Instead of covering their eyes, in A Quiet Place, you guessed it, everyone has to be quiet or the monsters get them. I don’t know if the critics are right. Your synopsis of the plot sounds like a unique premise.
    I’m glad you liked it. β™₯

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved ‘A Quiet Place’, and reviewed it on here. I even went to the cinema to see it!
      It is a superior film to ‘Bird Box’ in every way. But the premise is not the same, even though I also thought it might be. And this is far better than most critics ever gave it credit for. Sandra Bullock plays the same part she always plays, whatever the story. But it works in this film, and the rest of the cast members are all strong players too. If it hadn’t been so widely slated, I may not have been so impressed. But I have seen some terrible films that most other people loved, and this is better than all of those.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

    1. To be honest, I am not that impressed with it, so far. I am certainly glad it doesn’t cost me anything.
      Maybe I have just lived too long, and watched too much ‘stuff’? πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

    1. If you know anyone who has Netflix, (relatives, friends, etc) they can give you a password, as they are allowed to use it on multiple platforms. I wouldn’t pay for it, as from what I have seen, it doesn’t have enough to tempt me to fork out Β£10 or more a month. Sandra looks bit ‘touched up’ in this film, and a fair bit younger than 50, it has to be said. πŸ™‚
      (She’s too thin for my taste anyway.)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I heard that it was a real coup for Netflix with more than140 million views last year alone, who knows how many it has by now as Netflix don’t normally release numbers.
    I might just give it a go now, or at least put it in the queue πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought it was alright, for an easy watch on TV. And not too terrifying for the scaredy-cats, either. πŸ™‚
      Julie watched it too, and that’s a recommendation in itself, as she rarely bothers with anything that’s not a musical.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Saring. I can tell you, I have seen a lot worse films than this one. It’s not a ‘wonderful’ film, but I don’t understand why it got so much harsh criticism. After all, it’s on Netflix, so they could have just turned it off. πŸ™‚
      Thanks for reading, and leaving a comment.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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