A once-innocent farm girl shoots down the national bird. This is the premise behind Birdshot (2016), director Michael Red’s clever fusion of coming-of-age story and procedural drama. Although some may be perplexed at such disparate themes, the flick’s relatable characters and exquisite filmography keeps the viewer engaged until the curtains are drawn.
Red’s sophomore film is outstanding in character building. As young Maya (Mary Joy Apostol) shoots down a Philippine eagle to prove her mettle, she unwittingly puts an end to her innocent childhood. Neophyte policeman Domingo (Arnold Reyes) is assigned to find the perpetrator, but he is too encumbered by an even graver crime.
The film’s exposition takes its time to flesh out the characters’ internal conflicts—thereby making them relatable—before the plot’s pace picks up for the final crescendo. The cinematography is rife with peaceful creeks and expansive farmland, drawing the viewer into a rural, haciendero-controlled town.
The cast’s solid acting removes all emotional distance, bringing the viewer into the thick of the drama. The score keeps handily apace: action sequences shine with riveting music, and classic kundiman pieces accompany peaceful provincial nights.
Birdshot’s masterful end sees idealistic policeman and innocent farm girl come of age. In the face of adversity, the protagonists are jolted with worldly realities—bringing the audience along for an enthralling ride.
Photo retrieved from filmlinc.org.