Birds of Passage
Release Date: February 13th 2019 (USA)
Movies and TV series about the South American drug trade are all over the place. Drugs, guns and violence: what’s the issue from an entertainment standpoint? Now comes Birds of Passage, a look at the Colombian drug wars of the 1970s and ’80s from Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra, who burst onto the scene in 2015 with Embrace of the Serpent.
Birds of Passage tells the story of a Wayuu family that becomes involved in the growing business of selling pot to Americans. As the man of the house, Rapayet (Jose Acosta) provides for his family by selling coffee with his friend Moises, a Spanish-speaking outsider to the Wayuu people. When the two run into a group of Americans looking for marijuana, Rapayet turns to his cousin Anibal, whose clan grows the drug.
Anibal ties together the mob feel to the movie. As soon as things begin to take off for Rapayet and Moises, his friend loses his temper and kills an American. The reckless and unnecessary killing causes a PR nightmare (if there is any in the Colombian drug trade.) Because of the tomfoolery of his partner. Rapayet is left to make a tough decision: What to do with Moises? Throughout the film Rapayet is left making tough decisions, Is the money he is making for himself and his family worth the risk?
Birds of Passage follows a familiar mob formula — a foundation is built on trust, family and loyalty, much like the stories of the Godfather and Goodfellas. Unlike its American counterparts, there is a lack of graphic violence in Birds of Passage. Of course, there is a fair share of killing, but we never see the murders take place, only the aftermath, whether it is the bodies or characters covered in blood after leaving someone’s house.
Birds of Passage’s beautiful cinematography and cultural exploration of a remote part of South America make it the best of movie I have seen in 2019. If you are lucky enough to be see this fascinating film, make it happen. It’s the perfect switch up to a oversaturated genre.