Posts Tagged ‘rosie perez’

Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) has just broken up with the Joker.  The two problems with that are that no one believes her, and she loses the protection that comes with being the Joker’s girlfriend.  So she does what any right-thinking woman would do, she publicly and explosively demonstrates that she and Mr. J. are no longer an item.  This move also announces to enemies that she is alone and unprotected.  Roman Slonis (Ewan McGregor) is a stone-cold killer who runs a club in Gotham City.  Roman wants to find the Bertinelli diamond, the diamond has a secret within it, and with that diamond in his possession, he can buy off every judge and policeman in Gotham, and rule that town. 

At first, Roman wants to kill Harley, but then he offers her protection in exchange for Harley finding the diamond.  He also asks hired muscle Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina) and singer at his club, Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smolett) to keep an eye on Harley and get the diamond if Harley gets any funny ideas.  Soon, everyone has an interest in finding that diamond. Police officer Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) and a woman who dubs herself the Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and kills her victims with a crossbow, but only a 14-year-old girl named Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) knows where the diamond is, and she’s not telling anyone.  Can Harley find the diamond?  And what will she do with it if she finds it? 

This is a surprisingly good script.  There is very good character development, an engaging plot, and even some atypical mentorship between Harley and teenaged Cassandra.  This film is a throwback to the 1960’s Batman television series lots of campy laughs, and more cartoonish violence than blood and gore.  Despite the broad comedic strokes, Birds of Prey really does try to be a woman’s empowerment film.   There are serious moments, where Harley and other women in the film are threatened with harassment and worse.   There is also scant mention of the Joker, and all the protagonists are women, and the antagonists are men, maybe that’s too simplistic, but sometimes the most effective ideas are expressed simply. Of course, the women’s empowerment theme is somewhat diminished by having a protagonist running around in shorts and a tee-shirt, but blame that on the guys who designed Harley Quinn as a comic book character, not the writer of this film. 

Where this film goes awry is the acting.  Margot Robbie is a good actress.  But she lays on the New York accent really thick and sound like a dime store version of Cyndi Lauper.  She can do better than that.  She undercuts any credibility the character has with that awful accent.  Rosie Perez who has a real New York accent, is very good in this movie, she mixes comedy and drama expertly, where has she been all these years?  Ewan McGregor, usually a fine actor, goes way over the top with this role.  His scenery chewing goes above and beyond the spirit of this role.  And he mixes up his American and Scottish accents into a muddle. Jurnee Smolett is not up to the task of playing both a serious and funny role, and her dye job is reminiscent of Elizabeth Berkley, and that is never a good thing.  Mary Elizabeth Winstead is very good in an understated performance as the Huntress.  And Ella Jay Basco is a precocious teen playing a precocious teen, but she has good chemistry with Margot Robbie. 

The direction is not as good as it should be either.   the fight scenes seem very choreographed, like each villain takes a punch at Harley and backs off, and then another goon comes in and fights for a while.  The dream sequence with Harley as Marilyn Monroe really backfires.  If the director, Cathy Yan, wants little girls to emulate Harley in some positive way, does she want to use a song popularized by a 1960’s sex symbol with essential the same costume and setting?  That said, the director gives plenty of time for backstories and good plot development, without the usual barrage of special effects. 

Birds of Prey: Don’t call these birds chicks.