Firebird

Firebird ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: Peeter Rebane. Cast: Tom PriorNicholas WoodesonDiana Pozharskaya 

“Firebird” may be based on a true story in an unusual place (Estonia) in the 70s, but the story of a forbidden love in the military settings feels like going through well-trodden paths (it was only last year that Moffie, a much superior film, was released). Aside from its Estonian settings, very little of what I saw felt new or original and if you sat down for a moment and could probably map out the whole story from beginning to end. However none of that takes away from fact that by the end of the film I was completely invested in the story and I won’t deny that I even got a bit moved… old softie that I am. Having said that, let’s be honest, the script is pretty basic with virtually no nuances and people speak their thoughts more often than one would like among a series of cliches out of a stock-book of characters.

The direction is functional but rather uninspired, often veering towards the big melodrama.

Tom Prior (from the Kingsman: The Secret Service) has definitely got the right face for the main role, though in the second part of the film, when he’s supposed to have aged a few years, he’s forced to wear a terrible wig, which not only looks fake from miles away, but also makes him look even younger. Wigs aside, he’s likeable and believable. Interestingly he’s also the co-writer, co-producer and the music supervisor for the film: clearly this must have been a project close to him.What works a little bit less, is the most of the cast around him: most of the secondary characters are 2-dimensional and at times a bit cartoony (the KGB “bad guy” for example): their acting also felt a bit forced at times, though that might have been because of the various Russian accents which I found very distracting throughout.

I wish I could have liked it more than I did, I feel its intentions are good, but aside from some good location, some nicely filmed moments and its moving ending, it all felt rather average.

The film has just had its world premiere at the BFI Flare Film Festival

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