If you thought The Blair Witch Project was too long and needed feathers, here’s the tour de force for you:
This is the work of an Australian filmmaker still trying to make a name for himself. Specifically, it’s a young thieving eagle that takes the audience on a journey spanning 62 miles and the human heart. (The filmmaker stole motion-activated equipment that rangers were using to study crocodiles, but times are tough for artists.)
In the all-too-short film — with its stark soundtrack, minimalist visual effects, and cast of virtual unknowns — we get a glimpse of life in the Kimberley, a region of western Australia. The isolation is palpable. As the filmmaker exposes his soul in an unprecedented blend of cinematic autobiography and documentary, we see his wings. His favorite rock. Some water or whatever. When the dust settles 23 seconds in, the upside-down camera angle clearly symbolizes how off-kilter he feels inside, without a compass.
Just when the suspense is devouring you, the filmmaker’s head appears to give the camera a single, sudden peck. And then another. (Stupid camera, how do you turn it off?!) Just as the entertainment industry can simultaneously nourish us and take voracious chomps out of our souls, so too was the eagle hungry for a snack.
Best Picture 2014 or I’m not Roger Ebert.