Bird Review

Image for Bird

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