Abby Sorkin ‘20
TV and Film Columnist
My friends always wonder how I have survived college sans-caffeine. So, I only have the descriptions of the drinks, but given their breathless praise of the energy and awakeness that these two beverages provide, I can only say the Birds of Prey made me feel like I’d drank three espresso shots in a minute. I was feeling pretty low energy as I walked to the village to see this movie. When I came out of it, I felt alive. I felt invigorated. I felt inspired. I nearly ran back to my dorm, blasting girl groups through my earphones and proceeded to write three thousand words of a creative writing project, eventually passing out in bed at 1 a.m.
As the credits rolled, I thought to myself: Birds of Prey is an exceptional movie. It’s a f-cking comic book movie in the best possible way
The rest of the review will contain some spoilers so if you haven’t seen the movie, please put down the newspaper or hit the back button and go watch it.
This movie is a master class in why it’s important to love what you are creating. The depth of the characters, the fight choreography, the script, the visuals and the soundtrack all fit perfectly together to make a movie that felt like panels of the comic book coming to life before my eyes.
Harley Quinn, played with heart, humor and wit by Margo Robbie, is the funny, charming and zany female anti-hero that audiences have been waiting for. Robbie makes it clear that she may be heartbroken, she may be a villain, but she is always without fail the most intelligent person in the room. Even if she’s drunk, beating people up or guiding a young girl to be her best self, that never ever changes. She’s an incredibly sympathetic character. Prior to the start of the movie, Harley belonged to the Joker, she was protected by him but eventually they break up and that is the impetus for the story. Harley’s story starts with the Joker but she’s so much more than his girlfriend. This is not a coming of age movie, rather it is the story of ‘landing on your own feet and maybe, probably, robbing a bank along the way’. One of coolest aspects of the movie is that Harley’s amorality enhances every element, including narration. We start with Harley and she gives us the backstory of how she got to the beginning of the movie, playing roller derby to get over her secret breakup with the Joker. The way the characters’s name are dropped as they appear on screen and then Harley in a brilliant use of meta references backtracks and gives a more fully fleshed out introduction. This is a funny way to allow us to see them from her perspective and given her background as psychologist, immediately gain some level of depth to these individuals.
There are so many elements of this movie I wish to highlight because it was so good, but that would fill at least six pages so here’s just a few. Heart’s Barracuda playing during the final fight scene, Cassandra Cain’s existence, Renee Monotoya’s complexity and queerness, Dinah Lance’s golden outfits. But one element that really stood out was Eweon McGregor as the main villain, Roman Sineous, a misogynistic douchebag emboldened by his wealth and power. McGregor is unrecognizable in this movie, a testament to the script and costuming as much it is to his talent– and that’s coming from one of the biggest Star Wars fans there is. I did not see Obi Wan Kenobi at all in this, in fact when his name came up during the credits, I gasped out loud. He feels familiar in such an uncanny way and it’s disarming to realize that the Jedi mentor I grew up with as a child is also one of the scariest villains I’ve seen.
The moment of the movie I’ll be thinking about for the next several months is Harley Quinn giving Dinah Lance a hair tie in the middle of a curb stomping final battle montage. That’s this movie in a nutshell: fun, vicious, and honest.
This is a movie for women by women. It’s the feeling of meeting girls you find pretty in bathrooms while tipsy and getting hyped and wine nights with your closest friends rolled into one.
Image Source: GameSpot