Two bird enthusiasts try to defeat the cocky, cutthroat world record holder in a year-long bird-spotting competition.Two bird enthusiasts try to defeat the cocky, cutthroat world record holder in a year-long bird-spotting competition.Two bird enthusiasts try to defeat the cocky, cutthroat world record holder in a year-long bird-spotting competition.
The Big Year is not a perfect film, with the odd predictable part, some pedestrian pacing and for personal tastes some of the historical montage narration was a little irritating and not always necessary despite it being well-delivered by John Cleese. However it is much better than the trailer suggests, in all honesty trailers rarely do their films justice with the trailer being misleading or bad and the film actually being good(the case with The Big Year). The bird-watching subject is dealt with thoughtfully and mostly engagingly if imperfectly, as well as handled with a gentle tone and uplifting at the end. And the script and story do just fine in the comedy and drama. Sure the comedy is not laugh-out-funny which will disappoint people, but it's gentle, droll humour instead of the crude, broad humour that it could easily have been, and the approach worked and would have suited the film and story much better in the first place. The drama hits the right note too, there's always a danger in comedy dramas or dramas for the dramatic parts to be over-sentimental, but in my opinion The Big Year did not fall into that trap with it being very poignant and hopeful.
It's very beautifully filmed too with strikingly picturesque locations, it is nicely directed and the music from Theodore Shapiro does a good job matching the film's gentle tone. The characters are sympathetically drawn and played, there's a danger always in comedy drama to have a character that's annoying or window-dressing and none of those are present in The Big Year. The acting is strong and no time is wasted on making full use of what makes the actors talented. Steve Martin's comic timing is as smooth as silk, Jack Black while broad at times is thankfully more subtle than usual and Owen Wilson while not quite as memorable is amiably likable. Luckily they are treated equally by the writers instead of one outweighing the others They are well-supported by an as ever elegant Anjelica Huston, an as always stellar Dianne Wiest and a radiant and sympathetic Rosamund Pike. To me The Big Year was not lacking in chemistry or tension.
Overall, The Big Year is not perfect but it's a surprisingly good and well done film, that is far better than it was advertised to be. 7/10 Bethany Cox
- Mar 1, 2015