Yet another coming-of-age drama you can probably do without.
The general idea of ‘Blackbird’ sounds like a promising concept that could add a really different spin to the tired genre. It follows church going Christian choir leader Randy Rousseau, played by Julian Walker, as he attempts to deal with his homosexuality by not acknowledging it. The film follows his journey, and touches on the stories of his friends. The original concept is pretty much all ‘Blackbird’ has going for it, if anything.
First of all, the acting can be pretty bad at times. There are glimpses of a good performance from Walker, and with time he will get better. Once in a while you get the feeling like this is a bad student production that you just have to bear through. As the film makes its way to the end, the acting does get a little better, but not by too much. Given a cast of mostly inexperienced and new actors, it’s understandable as well as a little disappointing to see some relatively dull debuts.
The directing was average, never venturing to do anything particularly adventurous or interesting. There was a lot to be desired in terms of drawing in the pathos of the audience. Director Patrik-Ian Polk sometimes creates great scenes that are tense and gripping, but never keeps it up. Randy’s story is a tough and trying, easily capable of pulling the audience in. The audience should be able to feel his pain, but we only get a few good shots showing his true internal anguish.
The writing was bland, uninspired, and especially forgettable. The main problem is that there were too many sub plots going on that just created noise in the background. The film heads off and explores these tangents in varying detail for no real reason. On top of that, everything just seems to magically come together for a happy ending. The characters still seem as flat as they did from the start and the parallels Polk attempted to draw are thin at best. You get a relatively new plot line, with several other plot lines mixed in. However, none of them are good.
This film bites off more than it can chew. If this movie was about 40 minutes shorter or a short film of a few minutes, it would be a better watch. If Lifetime movies are your thing, you were a big fan of the book, or you strongly relate to Randy and his struggles, you might be able to find some solace in this film. However, if those three conditions don’t apply to you, neither does this movie.
The film acquired by RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE) will be available on VOD and Digital on July 28, 2015 and Blu-ray and DVD on August 4, 2015.