"Bird" is an excellent film depicting the music and downfall of American Jazz legend Charlie Parker. This labor of love Directed by Clint Eastwood takes us from the early beginnings of "Bird"s" musical career as a saxophonist, playing with such greats as Dizzy Gilespie(who gave him his nickname "Yardbird"), to his eventual self destruction and death due to his abusive life style. Eastwood was awarded Best Director for this film at the Golden Globes.
Forest Whitaker turns in a superb performance as the strung out musician, as does Diane Venora as his wife who supported him wholeheartedly but could not help him. Whitaker and Venora were also both honored for their work, Whitaker with Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival and Venora was the New York Film Critics choice for Best Supporting actress.
The Soundtrack, mostly Parker's music was remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 and is outstanding.It too was awarded with Best Sound at the Academy Awards.One of the songs that really stood out for me was "Bird's" rendition of "Laura" from the film noir of the same name.
The film does not glamorize Parker's life, but is an honest look at his departure from life and dependence on drugs.We see him turn inward at the loss of a child, the attempt at suicide, desperate attempts at finding work, and his depression at the change in the music world during the rock and roll revolution in the 50's, and finally his death at such a young age.
As far as the DVD, the sound was very good in the Dolby Dig 5.1.The picture was presented in the original widescreen aspect, but was very dark in places, making the actors undistinguishable at times.This may have been the way the film was made due to the dark content of the story. It was slightly distracting (my only reason for 4 stars) but otherwise an engrossing well made story with a great soundtrack.
Bebop Lives On in this film........Laurie