Movie Review - The Yellow Birds
At the same time, the film cuts back-and-forth to what soldiers experience when they return home and have to deal with the aftermath or even the psychical scars of being in active gunfire or subject to intense enemy attacks. Those mental scars can lead to issues like homelessness and suicide, and this movie does briefly address that. Yet, we've seen several films in that vein since the Iraq War began. The recent Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2016) and Thank You For Your Service (2017) hit all the same beats of this movie, but in more on-the-nose and bolder or more underlined ways. Here, director Alexandre Moors (Blue Caprice) does have a tact similar to Kathryn Bigelow, the director of Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker, another Iraq War movie, but Moors also has a poetic nature and sensibility that makes this film more subtle and more beautiful in various respects.
Despite Moors' direction, due to the same beats as other modern-day war movies, there was nothing that made me interested in this film more than the cast that Moors has assembled. The movie is divided into two, the overseas war and the American home-front. The American home-front is populated with stars and great, adult actors like Jennifer Aniston, Toni Collette, Jason Patric and Lee Tergesen. The presence of those names is worth giving the film a look, but what Moors did was also greatly cast the overseas part and the young men who are the soldiers in question here. By luck or chance, Moors cast two young actors who are currently in two of the biggest movies of 2018.
Tye Sheridan co-stars as Daniel Murphy, a 18-year-old soldier also from Virginia, but it's clear that he comes from an economically or financially better part of town. His parents aren't wealthy but they are better off and if nothing else, they're still together. As such, Daniel has a plan for his life. He wants to go to college and pursue a career. He doesn't drift in that sense. He is a bit shy though.
In terms of the two biggest films of 2018, Ehrenreich was the titular character of Solo: A Star Wars Story, which is currently the sixth, highest-grossing movie of the year at $213 million. Sheridan was the titular character of Ready Player One, which is currently the twelfth, highest-grossing movie of the year at $137 million. Prior to this, both guys started acting as teenagers and have both been involved with critically acclaimed films and legendary directors who have helped both hone their crafts, priming them as two of the best within their age-group. Bringing the two together, even briefly here, is electric.
Rated R for war violence, some grisly images, sexual material and language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 35 mins.
Available on DVD and VOD.