This is going to be a difficult review for me, the movies I review are usually big budget movies using Studio money and tend not to be the product of a few peoples hard earned money and time. There are a few I’ve already reviews, like Broken, but they’ve been quite easy since they’ve been so good. Now you begin to see the difficulty.
The Aviary is a full length movie pulled together by Silver Tree and Abe Levy. Tree was a Flight Attendant that wasn’t flying, and so she wrote a screenplay about being an Attendant and Levy agreed to make it into a movie.
First up I have to say I’m not a Flight Attendant and never have been, and I think that has disadvantaged the movie straight away for me. To be quite fair I think this is a movie that appeals directly to those involved in the industry, and without that interest and involvement you’re immediately missing out on a large part of what the movie is about.
The film touches on the life of a Flight Attendant, and what it is really like, not the fictionalised account that’s often presented in other stories. It follows the character through a failing marriage and a struggle to live a life through a job that takes over that life all too easily.
There are some good touches in the movie, the travelling sequences using the camera at ankle height following the walking legs of the characters to the places they stop over and the airports they pass through was an clever way to portray the constant travelling. The constant placing of the three items of the main character, Summer Pozzi, on the bedside table to remind her of home no matter what hotel room she is in. The repeated taxi trips are an interesting way of reflecting the shallowness of the job, in that the Taxi driver is in a similar role and despite taking Pozzi on many journeys he still doesn’t remember her, and once she makes a real human connection with him is when he acknowledges her for who she is.
I think that does mark the turning point of the characters journey towards a better life, as she gains confidence and belief in herself. This slow downward slope and the sharp upturn are defined well in the plot, and her own journey can be seen.
The whole movie does a really good job of portraying the lonely and disparate life of the Flight Attendant, even when they live with other Flight Attendants. Their relationships are really telling and it’s clear to see that it can be the best, or worst of lives.
However I couldn’t associate with any of the characters, particularly that of Pozzi. I just found it so hard to find anything nice about her, she basically left her partner because he wasn’t wanting to be a Pilot and then proceeded to sleep her way through a bunch of other Flight staff to get to another big plane Pilot. The way she treated people and especially her Mother was just not something that I could connect with in any way other than distaste.
Of her flatmates Rachel Luttrell as Portia was such an over the top actress it was hard to stomach her scenes, except those moments when she backed down a few steps and showed her talent. Perhaps her character was meant to be this way, but she grated heavily.
For me, the real star of this piece, and the only character that you begin to feel something for and some association with, is Kate played by Claire Rankin. She begins as a thoroughly hateful character, which is good because it does have you feeling something. As the movie progresses though you do begin to see her relax and open up to the other characters, and it’s at this point you see the actress and her ability come through.
Still, at the heart of the movie is the Flight Attendant, and without knowing and understanding the nuances of their lives I feel it does become a niche film. If a stronger focus had been put on these aspects of the story I think it could be a lot more accessible, as it is I felt that I struggled to get into the movie and stay with many of the in jokes, characters and scripting. It really is a movie for those in the know and the industry.