Netflix recommendation: Wild Canaries
Written and directed by: Lawrence Michael Levine
As I usually do, with Netflix, I landed on a random movie choice after browsing for close to an hour. Finally I forced myself to actually choose something to watch. What I stumbled upon was an enjoyable whodunit, with plenty of heart and character called “Wild Canaries”.
Barri (Takal) lives in a hip NYC apartment building, with her fiance Noah (Levine) and their roommate Jean (Shawkat). They have an interesting cast of characters as co-tenants, including a philandering, gambling addict landlord Damien (Ritter) and an elderly woman named Sylvia (Marylouise Burke). When Barri discovers Sylvia, dead on the floor of her apartment, she almost instantly smells something fishy. After noticing Sylvia’s son (Corrigan) behaving strangely Barri, with the help of Jean, launches an investigation.
Make no mistake, the murder mystery is the focal point of Levine’s film. But, there is something else at play that gives the film it’s life, and that is the relationship between Noah and Barri. It is an honest portrayal of a couple who love each other but are teetering on the edge of not really liking each other. It is the classic “Stalled out” relationship, and Levine and Takal play it to perfection. I kept waiting for one or both of their characters to slip into the realm of parody, but it never happened. In fact the thing I found most charming about “Wild Canaries” was the dynamic between the two of them.
I found this film to be a breath of fresh air. It is intelligent, clever, and even a bit touching at times. The most important thing though, and the reason I would recommend it, is that it is downright entertaining. Oh… and it is on Netflix streaming so go check it out!