Clint Eastwood brings a lifelong love of jazz to this gripping story of pioneering jazzman Charlie 'Yardbird' Parker, winning a Best Director Golden Globe Award. Like a spellbinding jazz riff, past and future overlap as the movie explores Bird's soaring skill and destructive excesses. In his Cannes Film Festival Best Actor performance, Forest Whitaker in the title role is a candle ablaze at both ends. Diane Venora shares that glorious light, the New York Film Critics Best Supporting Actress choice as steadfast wife Chan Parker. Skillfully blending Parker solo recordings with modern musicians, Bird comes alive most mightily on its soundtrack, honoured with a Best Sound Academy Award. In Eastwood's hands, Bird truly, stunningly lives.
I have read that Clint is a big 50's jazz fan. If you are too then this is probably a good film for you. I am only averagely interested in club jazz and so this film, even with the massive talent of Forest Whitaker, is pedestrian.
I have yet to see a convincing mime of instrument playing but Forest Whitaker's Sax. synch. was terrible. His acting of a drink and drug dependant musician was as unconvincing and uninteresting as you could possibly imagine for such an otherwise talented actor.
A film biography of a drug addict is a difficult undertaking, it hard to think of how it could have been done better but the result is underwhelming. The jazz tracks are great and a beautiful thing to listen to, it's just the rest that fails.