Don't Take Off Your Blindfold!
Oscar-winner Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) is one of my favorite actresses, so I usually enjoy her films. She excels in both comedies or dramas -- and seldom disappoints her fans. She’s even made thrillers like The Net and Premonition. However, that last movie mentioned does not live up to Bullock’s high standards – and I’m sorry to report that Bird Box also seems like a wrong choice for her. Although playing a woman facing almost impossible odds, Bullock does not get much chance to project likeability, one of her best traits.
Directed by Susan Bier from Eric Heirsserer’s screenplay adaptation of Josh Malerman’s post-apocalyptic novel, Bird Box opens with Malorie (Bullock) giving intense instructions to a young boy and girl (Julian Edwards and Vivien Lyra Blair, two very cute kids) prior to their dangerous journey through a forest and down a river. The most important thing she tells them is, “Don’t take off your blindfold or you will die!”
We then learn in flashbacks why she feels so strongly about this. It seems the world has been taken over by a supernatural force that’s causing mass suicides. The only way to avoid this outcome? Don’t look at the deadly entity. Malorie believes a sanctuary exists and has decided to take the children there, no matter the risk. No wonder she has to be so strict!
Sandra Bullock in a thriller?
Not the way we like to see her.
In BIRD BOX she tries not to see
a weird demon that baffled me.
So blindfolds are the things to wear.
And looking up one does not dare.
Two youngsters she tries to protect.
Without seeing to help detect.
Similar to A QUIET PLACE
but no threat in the Oscar race,
BIRD BOX contains some scary scenes.
Too bad we don’t know what it means.
Fortunately, Bullock gets support from a strong cast. Standouts include: Sarah Paulson as Malorie’s “glass-is-half-full” sister; John Malkovich, who portrays a selfish house owner and makes us want to punch him in the nose even though we sympathize with his situation; Tom Hollander unleashing his creepy side; Trevante Rhodes charming us with his gentle romantic performance; and Danielle Macdonald earning our empathy as a pregnant woman who befriends Malorie.
Unfortunately, too many questions go unanswered in Bird Box. Perhaps the novel explains things, but the movie leaves us being unsure of why the horrific events are happening. Plus, even in the darkest of movies, a little humor could help.
(Released by Netflix and rated “R” by MPAA.)
For more information about Bird Box, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.