Netflix Review: Bird Box
Something we don’t get to do enough is review films that have hit Netflix throughout the year. We strive to keep track of the movie theater scene, but the truth is that the streaming service giant cannot be overlooked in terms of new releases anymore. So, while this will not be a consistent series, we will from time to time get to review additional films that premiere on Netflix. It only seems fair to begin with the movie most recently exploding over social media, Bird Box. Directed by Susanne Bier and written by Eric Heisserer, the adaptation follows a blindfolded woman named Malorie and her two children as they try to escape to a safe place. The film stars Sandra Bullock as Malorie and features performances from Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Jacki Weaver, BD Wong, Tom Hollander, Vivien Lyra Blair, and Julian Edwards.
The film contains jumps in time throughout the story, but it begins with Malorie preparing her children to go outside. She instructs them to never take off their blindfolds and that this will be the hardest thing they have ever done. They make their way to a rowboat not far from the house, and soon Malorie pushes them off with supplies and a box with birds inside. The story then transitions to a flashback, where it is mentioned on the news that mass suicides have been a problem in Europe. Since it has not hit her area yet, a pregnant Malorie seems unconcerned and plans to attend her doctor’s appointment. Her sister accompanies her, and all seems well until a woman starts bashing her head on the glass at the appointment. Malorie and her sister hurriedly leave as chaos erupts, and Malorie soon finds herself hiding in a house with other survivors. As the story unfolds, it is revealed why Malorie finds herself in a boat in current day and the complicated threats they face on their journey.
So, this movie first came to our attention when it exploded over all of our social media networks. I have seen reviews varying from terrible to fantastic, and admittedly, I found that it fell somewhere in the middle. I did not care for the structure of the story since you know from the beginning that Malorie and the children are the only survivors of the group you meet early in the flashback sequences. Also, by starting in the present day, it takes away from some of the suspense and anticipation that should accompany a film like this. The concept of the story was intriguing, and it is easy to draw comparisons with this movie to films like The Happening and A Quiet Place. In fact, I would almost say that these comparisons do not help the film. Bird Box is adapted from a novel, but with A Quiet Place releasing earlier this year and garnering awards, this movie comes off as an adapted version of the same concept.
No matter how many issues I have with the structure, though, it should come as no surprise that Sandra Bullock makes this at least an enjoyable watch. She plays the intense and hard-edged Malorie incredibly well, and I appreciate the range of emotion we see her display with this character. I think that some of the character’s moments are not the best with her personal journey being a little heavy-handed at times, but Bullock manages to make this character likable. In addition to Bullock, I thought that Tom Hollander was an excellent addition to the cast with his creepy performance, and John Malkovich plays the grouchy and untrusting Douglas perfectly. Some of the other characters seemed to be a little bit of a waste of time, but Trevante Rhodes also shined in his performance as the resourceful and compassionate Tom.
Overall, I think that Bird Box does not quite live up to the hype but is still an enjoyable watch that is easily accessible on Netflix. The way the story handles the “monsters” is fairly interesting, and I am personally glad that they did not show much of a physical manifestation of them. There are some strong performances that accent this film, which helps to make up for the choppy structure. If you are a fan of Sandra Bullock, then feel free to enjoy another stellar performance from her, and get ready to appreciate the GPS in your car in a whole new way.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.