Birds of Prey

An artistically vulgar, enchanting film where sexism is greeted and smashed. How interesting that the movie was written (Christina Hodson) and directed (Cathy Yan) by women.

Birds of PreyFilled with dazzling special effects and a pounding soundtrack, this entertaining movie focuses on four women who join together to fight injustice. However, we have to start with Margot Robbie’s magnificent performance as the eccentric Harley Quinn, whose role as the Joker’s girlfriend saved Suicide Squad (2016) from dissolving.

Having now been dumped by her demented boyfriend, who mercifully doesn’t appear on screen, Harley is hunted by a collection of police and thugs. A sexy creation out of the mind of a modern day Michelangelo, her skintight attire, outrageous boots, pig-tails and red lips should challenge for Best Costume and Make-up Oscars next year.

Kicking ass and taking no names, she is pursued by two sinister Gotham characters played with devilish charm by Ewan McGregor and Chris Messina. McGregor, known as the Black Mask, and Messina, his top aide Victor, torture and kill with the glee felt by an 8 year old on a first trip to Disney World.

As Harley dances on the edge of destruction, she is saved by three women who join as a team for different reasons. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Jurnee Smollett-Bell match Ms. Robbie’s performance as the Huntress and Black Canary, two women who seek vengeance and justice with a cross-bow and an electrifying singing voice. Rosie Perez plays a police detective who finds it impossible to tolerate the sexism that dominates her profession which drowns her grace and charm.

I also need to mention the important role played by Ella Jay Basco. Thirteen years of age, she embraces the role of Cassandra Cain, a streetwise pick-pocket who joins with Harley after picking the wrong pocket.

While this is a film that will likely appeal first and foremost to a female audience, I saw it with four male friends. Though I sensed that they joined me a bit reluctantly, we all were laughing and praising the film as it ended. One of them, a cryptic surgeon, said it was the best film that I ever took him to see over many years.