Review | #Birdshot is a meticulously crafted mystery thriller

Writer-director Mikhail Red waxed poetic with his first full length film, Birdshot, a mystery thriller set far away from imperial Manila, but in a seemingly serene rural town that is disturbingly quiet, (or is it silenced?)

Yet the main players know that the town reeks darkness. A cornfield caretaker, aware of the town’s shadowy edges, teaches his daughter to fire a gun. A rookie cop, meanwhile, is partnered with a violent, jaded police officer whose morality is as wrinkled as his uniform. Everyone was minding their own business, until a Haribon was reported missing from a nearby sanctuary.

Everything Red crafted here is gold. The calculated shots made the film easily consumable. Others may find it edgy because it is quite rare for a local genre movie to have beautifully staged shots. It is refreshing to see precise and astonishing cinematography that matches a great script.

The payoff is satisfying. Blending thrillers with western tropes and magic realism reflects how the film is well-thought. If you know your news in the last decade, Birdshot references one of the gruesome crimes in history.

While it can be accused of piggybacking on the popularity of the iconic Heneral Luna, John Arcilla (see how huge the actor’s image in the badly photoshopped poster), this did not undermine the stellar performances of the actors. Birdshot had depth, action and even comedic elements.

Birdshot is a glimpse of what genre films could be capable of, only if we mine the country’s undesired truths, with an eagle eye for fine cinematic storytelling.

Rating: 9.5/10

Birdshot is showing on August 16 as part of Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino