Two young soldiers, Bartle (21) and Murph (18) navigate the terrors of the Iraq war under the command of the older, troubled Sergeant Sterling. All the while, Bartle is tortured by a promise he made to Murph's mother before their deployment.
"Yellow Birds" follows John Bartle and the difficulties he faces in keeping his humanity, his urge to survive and his friend Murph alive during the war in Iraq, as well as his life and struggles with his memories of the war after he comes back to Virginia.Written by
A first version of the movie headed by the producers was presented during the Sundance Film Festival. But following, the mixed reception of the audience, the movie was reedited by Moors point of view. See more »
Bartle and Murphy address non-commissioned officers as "sir" numerous times throughout the film. NCOs are referred to by their rank (sergeant, staff sergeant) in the US Army, Only commissioned officers are referred to or addressed as "sir" (warrant officers can be addressed as"Mr (their last name)" or as "sir" . This is a serious error in protocol and would have been correct by the NCO being addressed immediately. See more »
For the first half hour or so I didn't know what to make of this film. The tone was all over the place and I couldn't tell if the filmmaker wanted to make a War film or a drama.
I'll do my best not to spoil anything, but it wouldn't matter if I did, as this film isn't worth your time. It was very clear throughout the film that the writers/filmmaker, either weren't very knowledgeable of the US Army and how soldiers address each other, conduct themselves, or what battle drills are or how they are conducted.
These two young soldiers we follow constantly refer to a non-commissioned officer as "sir". Anybody who has served knows that is a big no no and would earn them a nice smoke session(forced strenuous PT) until they address him properly. This is just one of many issues with the film.
I honestly have no clue when this movie is set. Based on their uniforms I assume it takes place during the early stages of the invasion of Iraq, yet bars and private homes have modern flat screen wall mounted tv sets? Also there is a scene near the beginning, of the two leads meeting each other at a shooting range, but I couldn't tell if it was supposed to be at bootcamp, or at their assigned duty station. This film is rife with this style of poor writing.
The War scenes should've either been cut entirely or presented more ambiguously. Because these actors and the director slept walked right through them. None of it felt earned or organic, which is partially due to the lifeless foley. The rifles, LMGs, explosions, hiss/snaps of incoming fire etc. all sounded like it was meant to be marketed to the elderly, so it wouldn't hurt their ears. I'm surprised nobody stepped in and told this director to get some kind of energy and passion out of the actors.
By about the fifty minute mark it was clear that they were going for a mystery/drama, but even that felt unearned. None of the dramatic scenes felt natural, it felt as though the writer was searching for something to keep the audience invested.
This wasn't the worst War film I've seen, but it's not a good one either. It tries too hard to be multiple different things at once, the acting was average at best, there wasn't enough build up to any of the plot points, the directing was weak for the most part. There is a good movie in here.... Somewhere. They just couldn't find it.
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