REVIEW: These Birds Walk

14 04 2015

These Birds WalkI can’t help but feel awful criticizing a documentary like “These Birds Walk,” especially from my position of enormous privilege of which the film made me painfully aware. Please do not mistake my critique of the filmmakers as some sort of slight or insult to the subjects they chronicle. (I feel like such a disclaimer is a necessary shield against accusations of heartlessness when talking about orphans in Pakistan.)

“These Birds Walk” is certainly well-meaning, but directors Omar Mullick and Bassam Tariq never translate their good intentions into good cinema. Their 71-minute documentary feels too long for a short subject and too short for a feature documentary. It’s like the rough cut of a student film made by humanitarian world travelers. The film’s voice is not particularly distinct, so it just feels like a quaint travelogue.

Mullick and Tariq train their camera to get a few nice shots and capture some candid moments, but they aren’t enough to propel their enterprise. “These Birds Walk” lacks a consistent story to follow, and the characters are not particularly well-defined enough to carry the film. They also don’t provide much background on the cultural conditions in Pakistan, so any social commentary in the film doesn’t feel very pressing.

Perhaps this duo is capable of making a good documentary in the future, but “These Birds Walk” suffers from too many basic errors to be effective.  C2stars

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