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MOVIES (GFF 2022): Bird Atlas - Review

Bird Atlas feels – to go with the most obvious comparison, akin to a muted yet subtly fantastical Succession, which it hits multiple similar beats to. A scramble for power at a technology company erupts when an ageing proprietor ends up in hospital. It’s a feature with a bold ambition from director Olmo Omerzu, that has moments of deadpan brilliance in its realist approach – eschewing the fast pace and documentary feel of Succession for something more sombre and reflective backended by a compelling mystery – with principal character Ivo’s severe health crisis happening in the film’s opening moments when it’s realised that a greater threat to his company lies from within – someone has been acting with interest of long-term embezzlement.

The film doesn’t quite go into the high stakes, ultra-rich world of Succession – but plays up the soap opera dramedy of it all and there’s enough of a driving momentum to carry it forward – you even get moments that feel straight from the show’s plot, but presented in their own unique way. It’s mainly sustained through its runtime by the fact that the characters are almost all convincing here – suspect number one is Alena Mihulova’s secretary Marie, and things spiral out of control rapidly from there – but to add an extra dynamic to the film there’s a sublime application of magical realism that means the film’s poking at the capitalist corporate culture that calls its home really finds a way to land.

There’s maybe a case of one two many plot points mixed in that Bird Atlas could have cut or further gave greater narrative weight, but even with these additions it feels remarkably streamlined, whilst allowing the characters and its audience to simmer in their actions and consequences on both a personal and corporate level. Perhaps the most well-realised of them all is the film’s primary antagonist Ivo, who takes it upon himself to believe that he should be the one investigating the heart of the crime as he knows better than anyone else and it's his money. Be these characters Ivo or Marie they are all given their own goals and objectives, and feel like real people, no matter their agendas, and that’s in part why the ending left as much as a mark on me as it did.

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