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yellow birds poster new smallThis powerful drama shatters notions that going to war makes heroes of ordinary men. Neither Bartle (Alden Ehrenreich), age 21, nor Murph (Tye Sheridan), who is barely 18, have any idea about what they want to do with their lives, so they join the military. They meet in basic training, and bond as brothers, determined to get through the military drill together. Their conmection is strengthened when Bartle meets Murph’s doting and very anxious mom (Jennifer Aniston), at an on base family dinner before the two deploy to Iraq, where they quickly learn that war is not a video game.

Under attack and surrounded by the constant threat of death, they have no sense of purpose or mission. They enter in to a realm of terror and despair where their biggest battle is keeping alive their will to live. There is no space for thoughts of the future. And, as it turns out, the future holds no relief. The effects of war endure.

When the troops are brought home, Bartle is with them. Murph is not. But Bartle might as well be missing, too, because he cannot function. He cannot relate to his mother (Toni Collette), who doesn’t know how to help him transition back into a normal life. Eventually, he is sought out by Murph’s mom, who is trying to find out what happened to her son.

The film’s nonlinear structure adds gravitas to the story as each time shift reveals another element of the agony that Bartle and Murph and their respective moms are suffering. The film’s moments of revelation and images are haunting.

Director Alexandre Moors (Blue Caprice) unemotional approach to the narrative and performances gives the film an aura of gripping authenticity. The warscape of violent cruelty that shatters the psyches of Bartle and Murph and turns them into lost souls is presented as happenstance. The film’s matter of fact ambiance is as unnerving to the audience as it is to Bartle and Murph. The ensemble delivers beautifully nuanced, devastatingly restrained performances are heartbreaking.

The Yellow Birds has the potential to turn hawks into doves. It’s a must see.


Title: The Yellow Birds

Directors: Alexandre Moors

Release Date: June 8, 2018

Running Time: 110 minutes

Language: English

Screenwriter: David Lowery & R.F.I. Porto, based on the novel by Kevin Powers

Distribution Company: Saban Films


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