2019 | 125 minutes | Rated NR
Whatever you’re expecting from a drug epic set in Colombia in the 1960s and ’70s, Birds of Passage isn’t it. How Birds of Passage plays with and against familiar drug-crime genre tropes are only part of what makes it one of the most fascinating, surprising, and complex movies of the year. First of all, its characters are Wayúu, members of an indigenous tribe living in Colombia's northern Guajira Peninsula, and most of the dialogue is spoken in their language. Lastly, the movie isn’t about, say, a good man turning bad, or an Edenic society's corruption by western—or, in this case, Northern—influence. More than any recent movie I can think of, Birds of Passage, with its keen eye on this particular part of the planet, imbues a sense of a bigger, disinterested world, one where humans aren’t necessarily in charge. The Wayúu may have found a lucrative role in a new, booming, criminal economy, but like the rest of us, they're caught in the greater, more inescapable momentum of time and lost wisdom and decay.
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