Birds of Prey are released - A spin-off of the DC universe about a gang of defenders of justice led by Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), the Joker's girlfriend. Already in "Suicide Squad" it was obvious that the eccentric heroine Robbie deserves a separate film. The action begins with Harley parting with the main villain of Gotham and mutates into a combat break-up saga about girlfriends friendship and empowerment. We tell you how a little-known director and not the most successful screenwriter turned out a greyhound and witty film about how to kick ass assholes, and why we need more stories like Harley.
Attention: The text contains spoilers!
Text: Alisa Taezhnaya, author of the telegram channel "See once"
"Behind every tough guy there is a tough chick", - Harley Quinn repeats the well-known sexist stereotype, which she sincerely believed in her relationship with the "tough guy". Over the years of communication with the Joker, she completely forgot who she was in herself, and enjoyed the status of complete immunity and impunity for all hooliganism. Harley calls the claims from the residents of Gotham "insults": after rumors about the separation of the couple, everyone who she harmed, but who did not find the courage to contact the girl of the main Gotham villain, decided to take on her.
Harley's life before meeting the Joker was not sugar. She grew up with unloved parents, was thrown into the upbringing of cruel nuns, which did not prevent her from studying perfectly well, getting a degree in psychiatry and, being a brilliant young specialist, accepting patients, one of whom was the psychopath Joker. Having lost his head from love, Harley, after a tender romantic scene in the barrel of the chemical plant ACE Chemicals, abandons his own life in order to become someone's girlfriend - an eccentric and Joker-like crime partner. Now that Harley is alone, every second person wants to settle scores with her - from the guy whose brother she fed to the hyena from the shelter to the "bastard" she doesn't even remember.
After days of unrestrained drinking, Harley rents a decrepit apartment in a Gotham hole and eats a bucket of ice cream with a loud roar: her only joy during this period of her life is a morning egg sandwich, perfectly prepared by her favorite Armenian seller. Having stolen a truck and sent it to the ill-fated factory, Harley rips off the Joker's amulet from his neck - it is he who is found at the scene by Lieutenant Rene Montoya (Rosie Perez) and equips the police to search for the annoying criminal. Renee has been treated with disdain at her job for years: a former colleague appropriated her achievements by getting a promotion, and her ex-girlfriend talks to her through clenched teeth. Now Rene is almost the only woman in the Gotham police - a draft horse and at the same time a scapegoat: she is given the most difficult tasks and is not awarded a new title. It won't be long before Rene feels compassion for Harley.
and devaluation, wanton cruelty
and the narcissism of the bandits is
what has everyone suffered from
Other "Birds of Prey" are also women of difficult fate. The mysterious Huntress with a crossbow (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) rushes around Gotham on a motorcycle and exterminates the underground mafiosi: Rene must also reveal her motives. Another heroine works for the villain Black Mask - Roman Zionis, a longtime enemy of Harley. An African-American singer nicknamed Black Canary (Jernie Smollett-Bell) sings from the stage "This is a man's world" and has long obeyed Zionis in everything in exchange for protection, and even agrees to the humiliating work of his personal driver. Black Canary's neighbor, abandoned adoptive daughter Cassandra Kane (Ella Jay Basco) grows up on the street and trades in theft.All four girls will find themselves tied in a story around the capture and revenge of Harley Quinn and will feel that loneliness and devaluation, unreasonable cruelty and narcissism of bandits are what each suffered from. It's time to turn over the "man's world", where the brazen alphas have ceased to see the shores. "I shaved my balls for this?" yells the inscription on Lieutenant Montoya's T-shirt. Harley Quinn will embark on a journey from self-flagellation of an abandoned girl ("Harlequin is nothing without his master") to control over his life with four allies - why not the "Charlie's Angels" that we deserve?
Birds of Prey is an example of a project that would not have happened without the strong support of a public figure. In this case, it is the starring Margot Robbie, who produced the film and, like Natalie Portman (Jane Takes the Gun) or Reese Witherspoon (Big Little Lies), was able to bring the risky material to fruition. The practice of male actors producing films with roles for themselves in Hollywood is very wide. Actresses-producers are only gaining weight in films and on TV, and this promises systemic shifts: it is the presence of women in the project that often ensures adequate representation and selection of female personnel for the film crew (which means more jobs for women in the industry as a whole).
"Birds of prey" do not take everyone and themselves in the first place seriously, shooting rivals with colored fires
Indie director Katie Yan was entrusted with the filming of the DC spin-off - she is the second female director after Patty Jenkins, invited to film a blockbuster comic book adaptation. The incendiary script was written by Christina Hodson - her main (and rather dubious) success was still considered to be the Bumblebee script with Haley Steinfield. Due to the charisma of Robbie, who still has many great roles to play (most of all, Harley in her performance resembles "I, Tonya"), and the well-coordinated work of all the actresses, the story does not look like a dummy. Each of the female characters not only plays a politically correct diving city, but also has the characteristic features, oddities and behavior of an independent heroine - it's easy to imagine a separately shot film about Cassandra, the Huntress, Montoya or the Canary.
What is most often so desperately lacking in both superhero cinema and comic-book films - daring irony and witty aggression - is abundant in Birds of Prey, as it was in the "author's" interpretations of comics by the same Patti Jenkins (Wonder Woman "), Taiki Waititi (" Thor: Ragnarok ") and James Wang (" Aquaman "). Each of them did not hesitate to take a risk, expand the universe of the comic and add absurdities and jokes to the script so that the heroes do not look like cardboard heroic, and in their alternative world the absurdity of a fairy tale remains, and does not freeze the steel of an indifferent action movie. "Birds of Prey" is also primarily funny, although sometimes visually vulgar: graphic solutions and cartoons in flashbacks every now and then break the rhythm and return the lively action to the category B movie shelf. But plot vignettes and tertiary characters that appear literally for a couple of seconds, entirely save the case. While the Joker of Todd Phillips suffered in the scenery of an ancient tragedy, "Birds of Prey" does not take everyone and themselves in the first place seriously, shooting rivals with colored firelights and sequin cartridges: they fight dancing, and chat - munching. And when the action gets tiring, Robbie plays Marilyn Monroe in a pink jumpsuit with a bow, singing that diamonds are a girl's best friend.
Another plus of the film is the endless charm of evil. Ewan McGregor managed to play the villain, the joker and the nerd with the same fervor with which, perhaps, the Joker-Nicholson in the film adaptation of Tim Burton did it. Wearing pretentious jackets and streaming the reality show “Queer Eye,” he cuts people's faces for fun, throws the most idiotic lines in a solemn voice (thanks to decent dubbing!) And plays out the cliché about the psychopathic narcissist, for whom theatricality and cruelty are inextricably linked. The charismatic villain is the supporting structure of any plot with an antagonist, but it is the villains that are so rarely expressive in superhero cinema, remaining a demonic convention.In the case of Roman Zionis, who takes offense when he is called "Romik", evil is not ephemeral, but has the shape of a cocaine bastard in a velvet blazer with a collection of colonial treasures and hangers-on like hyenas.
"Fantastic emancipation" ended with the recognition of complete freedom
from a painful past
But no images would have worked in an action game divorced from virtuoso fights. The advantage of "Birds of Prey" is excellent stunts and fights: of course, this is not "John Wick", but also not a children's matinee. Roller skating, skillful and nimble hand-to-hand fighting, crossbow shooting, the nimbleness of a thief and the thunder of an animal voice - there are a dozen scenes in the film where female characters confirm the status of heroines who can kick ass. Fighting a drunken lieutenant, a duel in a mirrored amusement park room, stunts on a motorcycle and burning a beard - these scenes have both dynamics and comedy, almost wiped out from the mainstream action games for which we loved Die Hard or Lethal Weapon. Hits, jumps and chases are compensated by rattles like a stuffed beaver in a ballet tutu or an uncut jewel in a girl's intestines. "I'm crazy? Crazy people are those who pay six dollars for cucumber water in the supermarket,”Harley Quinn throws to a young assistant. And the distant celebrities on the screen finally remind you of your own friends with whom you joke in the kitchen over a bottle of beer about some stupid crap. Not being afraid of stupid crap is probably also an important part of 21st century girl power. And not only girlish.
"From a psychological point of view, retaliation rarely brings the catharsis that we expect," Harley Quinn, who grew up after breaking up, tells her newfound girlfriends, having learned from her own experience that the theories from the textbooks are true. Her "fantastic emancipation" (this is what the "Birds of Prey" are called in the original) ended with the recognition of complete freedom from the painful past. Retribution is good fuel, but a deceiving target.