Bird Review

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New to the Big Apple in 1940, Saxophonist Charlie Parker is quickly spotted for his unique method, which leads to fame, fortune and drug addiction.


Clint Eastwood's long, effective biopic of jazz great Charlie "Yardbird" Parker follows the chubby but charismatic horn-man (Forest Whitaker) through a stormy non-marriage to Diane Venora and massive heroin abuse, showing how he still managed to pioneer new forms of music even as his life was self-destructing around him.

One funny stretch has him pass off a white jazzman as a black albino to allow his integrated combo to play the segregated south. Eastwood the director demonstrates a sensitivity and depth of feeling that surprised some folk who hadn't been paying close attention to his earlier work.

A compelling mix of music and misery as Bird flushes himself down the can