Firebird; Grade: C+
Firebird tells a story about a solider named Sergery (Tom Prior) whom is stationed in the Soviet Air Force Base. Sergery is a charming handsome young lad, who flatters the girls and has a couple of pals along with it. Sergery comes across a fighter pilot named Roman (Oleg Zagorodnii), whom grows fond of Sergery due to his liking of taking and developing photographs. Soon the two will share common interest in the arts, as before you know the two will partake in forbidden love that has consequences of five years of brutal labor prison if they’re caught.
From the looks of the poster I assumed this was going to be some kind of romantic foreign language film, which turns out it’s an English spoken film?! I wasn’t suspecting that at all, especially since the soldiers were stationed in another country so I was surprised.
Apparently Firebird is based off an actual true story, as the film’s intentions is to spread awareness of the fact I believe Russia made it a law banning any kind of homosexual propaganda of any kind back in 2013, as the film honors the loving memory of the main character whom passed away back in 2017. I appreciate the fact the people behind this film is trying to spread awareness on an important issue, however the film itself unfortunately is left to be desired.
The story is pretty basic as it’s follows a repetitive formula done in most stories of this nature. It kind of feels very similar to Call Me by Your Name: An Older gentleman partakes a romantic interest with a younger gentleman, while both characters become equally unlikable as the film goes on. It’s hard to give Sergery actual sympathy for his fall out with Roman, meanwhile he’s trying to sabotage his own best friend’s marriage in which she married Roman… Like I get you still love the guy and all, but have some actual decency in respecting your own best friend’s marriage. Same thing with Roman: Not only attempting in cheating on your wife, but also the way he treats Sergery was pretty selfish and rude, like I don’t understand why Sergery wants to continue to pursue romance in someone that treats him horribly.
Visually this film actually looks pretty good, this film captures quite a few lovely shots of buildings and such. The cast was pretty mixed for my taste. I believe there were performances in which were well executed in some moments, however in some moments the performances went over the top that it actually made some moments looked pretty silly. Especially when Roman reveals to Sergery that his wife is pregnant, then the next thing you know Sergery puts up a pretty goofy face as rain comes pouring down on him outside… I know it’s not a time to laugh, but the way the actor and this scene is set up just becomes hilarious.
Overall, Firebird was just average. I recommend checking this one out for a rental, not worth the time and energy to go out of your way and see it in a theater. -Mitch Smietana