The Ornithologist full movie review - More annoying than it needs to be
Set in the spectacular scenery of the Douro region along the Portuguese/Spanish border, 'The Ornithologist' follows Fernando, who is on a bird-watching trip when his canoe gets caught in the rapids.
He is rescued by two Chinese pilgrims and it seems his troubles are over - until he wakes up the next morning to find the pilgrims have stripped him to his pristine white underpants and tied him to a tree. Thus begin his troubles - or had they already begun?
Escaping, Fernando stumbles through the forest and encounters strange dancers, a mute goatherd and topless huntresses on horseback. Other strange happenings abound and there's a white dove following him. He seems scared, but does not try to attract the attention of a helicopter when it flies overhead. Does he not want to be rescued?
Although other characters drift in and out, this is primarily a single-hander. So it is a shame that although Paul Hamy, as Fernando, looks appropriately puzzled or scared, he delivers his lines with all the animation of a granite slab. Still, he is attractive in a rugged way which certainly makes the amount of screen time he is allocated nice to look at.
Director and co-writer João Pedro Rodrigues - who also awards himself a small but very important role in the film - seems to want the viewer to make up his own mind about what is going on. I find that slightly annoying - I prefer films to have a beginning, middle and end, and this only has a beginning, middle and more of the middle. But, although you will definitely feel its two-hour running time, the film is engrossing and I will watch it again.
Oh, and if you have ever wanted to see a grown man suckling direct from a goat's teat, this is your film!