Mikhail Red’s formally placid Filipino thriller Birdshot parallels the stories of a young girl, who mistakenly shoots an endangered bird on protected land, and a cop who’s recently been transplanted to the country, and is investigating the disappearance of a group of farmers. It’s all very accomplished but entirely expected, neatly tying the two plot strands together while hitting all the right thematic buttons. Adolescent angst and burgeoning self-actualization come face to face with entrenched corruption and widespread violence…you wonder if it could all be a metaphor or something. But even while this doesn’t do much to separate itself from the dozens of stoic-crime-thrillers-that-double-as-thinly-veiled-social-statements from countries all over the world, its deliberate pace and sudden violence prove effective.
Published as part of New York Asian Film Festival 2017 | Dispatch 3.