Feature Name: Birds Of Prey
Directed By: Cathy Yan
Cast: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ewan McGregor
Run Time: 111 minutes
Review By: Grinell Jacinto
Birds of Prey follows the lives of five female characters in Gotham City. Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) lives life however she wants because everyone in the city is afraid of her boyfriend – The Joker. After breaking up with the Joker (with a very public display), Harley discovers she’s no longer immune from the thugs of Gotham City. Besides the thugs she is also hunted by Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) – a misogynistic and sadistic gangster and his accomplice Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina).
While she is trying to stay away from trouble, a young girl Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) flicks Sionis prized diamong and gets by cops. Along with Renee Montaya (Rosie Perez) – a Gotham City Police Detective, Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) – a vigilante with the metahuman ability of hypersonic screams and Helena Bertinelli (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) – the orphaned vigilante daughter of mafia syndicate gangster must join Harley in protecting Cassandra from Sionis and destroy him if they want to survive. How they do so is what the film is all about.
Breaking the fourth wall, the narrative has Harley giving the viewers a back story about each character as and when they appear. This approach lightens up moments and makes the film more fun. From the onset of the film, this film’s colour palette and vibe is bright and intentionally erratic.
Talking about performances, Margot Robbie embodies the frantic energy of Harley Quinn to the T! She perfectly displays the character’s eccentricities while being inherently compelling. From suffering a heartbreak to avenging it – she is just beautiful.
Ewan McGregor as Roman Sionis aka Black Mask plays the deranged villain apt for this film. You feel like kicking his b***s at time. Another person for whom you will have the same feeling is Chris Messina aka Victor Zsasz Jurnee, Sionis’ right hand man.
Smollett-Bell is beautiful as Dinah Lance – the Black Canary, and shows emotional depth. Mary Elizabeth Winstead wow with her performance as Helena Bertinelli -the Huntress. Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, the GCPD Detective and Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain, the pickpocketed are a treat to watch.
While the film is full of colourful drama, it is also induced with loads of action. The well-choreographed action in collaboration with John Wick director Chad Stahelski is stunning. It’s just beautiful!
The costumes and makeup too are on point. The different shots of Gotham city are nice to watch as they are nothing like the messy streets like in The Joker.
The direction is commendable so kudos to Cathy Yan for the incredible work. Besides the director, credit also goes to writer Christina Hodson for setting the female-centric narrative tone without giving it a feminist angle.