Film Review: BIRD BOX: BARCELONA (2023): An Interesting and Creative Premise is Well-Utilized in Netflix’s Science Fiction Film

Georgina Campbell Mario Cosas Naila Schuberth Bird Box Barcelona

Bird Box: Barcelona Review

Bird Box: Barcelona (2023) Film Review, a movie written and directed by Alex Pastor and David Pastor and starring Mario Casas, Georgina Campbell, Diego Calva, Naila Schuberth, Alejandra Howard, Patrick Criado, Lola Duenas, Gonzalo de Castro, Michelle Jenner, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Abdelatif Hwidar, Manel Llunell and Carolina Meijer.

Filmmakers Alex and David Pastor’s Bird Box: Barcelona is a nightmarish vision come to life that has scenarios that may initially seem to have been done before but certainly not on this scale. The film opens in a world where people kill themselves when witnessing hallucinations that come through a deadly force. It’s a frightening scenario that people would have to wear blindfolds to avoid witnessing things which would lead them to take their own lives. Blindfolds are commonplace in this world the movie presents as the characters in it search for food and shelter while being unable to see what’s around them. While the film is certainly thought-provoking and proficiently made, the movie occasionally suffers from having too many characters, some of whom get lost in the shuffle.

At the beginning, we meet Sebastian (Mario Casas) and his daughter Anna (Alejandra Howard). Anna is enjoying skating until their tranquility is offset by a group of thugs who viciously attack Sebastian. When they come across more survivors of the phenomenon the movie centers on, Sebastian suggests that he can obtain generators to keep them comfortable. We are introduced to the concept of “seers” who are people that don’t kill themselves when coming into sight of the force the movie presents to its audience. Sebastian turns out to be such a “seer.” The secret is revealed that his daughter is actually not real but rather a vision of his. We soon skip back to nine months prior.

There is a great scene where the film shows people falling onto the train tracks in a flicker of chaos where all hell is breaking loose. Barcelona has become the very definition of disaster and these scenes are expertly done. Sebastian saves Anna but loses his wife in the interim. We meet the eccentric Father Esteban (Leonardo Sbaraglia) who has some unique religious beliefs behind the occurrences which are going on. We see how Anna had died and how Sebastian is actually capable of seeing her because of his special abilities.

Soon, Sebastian meets Rafa (Patrick Criado), Octavio (Diego Calva of Babylon) who is a physics expert, a doctor named Claire (the terrific Georgina Campbell of Barbarian) and the young Sofia (Naila Schuberth) who has lost her mother. There is supposedly a castle that could be a safe zone where people have found refuge and our characters venture there to see if this place is, indeed, what it is thought to be. Claire then learns about Sebastian’s ability to see the entity at hand and tries to keep Sofia free from harm. Sebastian claims to have their best interests in mind, however.

This movie is a very graphic and disturbing depiction of the events it portrays. Particularly gruesome are images of one of the characters whose eyes seem to be sewn shut. However, the production budget seems to be very generous here in order to bring all the film’s themes into view in the most effective way possible. This film is a bit more believable than M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening which was a different take on the material entirely but also had the concept of a large group of people committing suicide. That theme of mass suicide is just the very tip of Bird Box: Barcelona‘s iceberg. This new film has a lot on its mind and isn’t afraid to delve into complex territory that will leave audiences in deep thought especially with some of the religious themes it proposes.

The cast is solid. Casas is captivating in his physically challenging role while Howard is well suited to play the mysterious daughter who creates a lot of depth and complexity within the story line. Campbell and Schuberth are also very capable and turn in nuanced performances. Campbell’s character researches what exactly is seen by those who witness the force the movie proposes. Campbell is truly a standout in a cast full of talented performers. As good as Bird Box: Barcelona is at times (and it has got some pretty exciting set pieces), it’s also a bit discomforting to watch and could leave audiences thinking at times that the filmmakers may have bit off more than they could chew in terms of heavy subject matter. This is not an easy watch at all despite the evidence of a big budget and characters who could be relatable to viewers.

Still, though, this new picture is a solid companion piece to 2018’s Sandra Bullock starrer, Bird Box. The blindfolded concept these movies make apparent is quite frightening to actualize. While the science fiction elements of Bird Box: Barcelona are frightening in their own right, the movie works, and is at its best as the type of film that will reel audiences in and keep them wondering about what the people in the films who die are seeing that lead them to take their own lives. The movie doesn’t really visualize too much in that particular regard but rather leaves a lot to the viewer’s imagination, essentially making the whole concept that much scarier.

Rating: 6.5/10

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