Birdie puts the viewer in the shoes of a woman travelling in daytime on public transport, with other people around her, in a major Western city. It has this setting but yet it makes the viewer understand her discomfort and fear, even if we (sort of like myself) have no frame of reference of being in such a scenario. I say that in the (probably naïve) belief that very few people would not accept that women can easily feel threatened by men doing reasonable innocuous things - I believe loads of people do not care, or think those women should just "be sensible" but I think even they understand why so many would feel like the character in this film.
In that way the film is good because even when the 'threat' is just two men giving the woman the eye, it is still intrusive and unpleasant - and of course she notices. This hit home with me as I would not think twice (or more) at someone attractive, assuming she wouldn't notice, but of course probably it is noticed and of course it is an intrusive act which is about me, not her. Anyway, In the film, things do escalate somewhat, and the men clearly are out to at very least have fun with her, regardless the impact on her as a person - but throughout it convinces as a piece which puts the viewer very much in her shoes.
The delivery is what makes it work. There is no flamboyance to it, no violence, no dialogue to mention, no score, and visually it is pretty tight in terms of framing and ratio. Essentially it gives us no distractions, nothing to push us one way or the other apart from what we perceive in the moment. The actress does the same and is utterly convincing throughout. The film perhaps had scope to be more subjective than it was, and I don't think it needed to 'seal the deal' quite the way it did at the end, but it still worked well and was accessible and effective no matter the viewer's specific experience. (Of course, having said that, if the film gets a wider audience then I suspect the comments will have their fair share of "she should smile more" and "she should take the attention as a compliment" statements thrown about - but nobody should view YouTube commenters as reflective of real people).
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