Bird Atlas

Ivo Rona is the undisputed head of his family business. He’s been a hard-nosed bastard all his life, and now finally the chickens are coming home to roost.

Millions go missing from the company, and Ivo starts to turn himself in circles trying to find the culprit. Even when the method is discovered, his paranoia makes him dig deeper into who could be behind it all. In truth though, it is his own guilty conscience. He is certain this has been done maliciously, for personal revenge against him, and realises that almost everyone he knows would have reason to want it.

When the police get involved, and Ivo tries to tell them how to do their job, the detective, exasperated, tells him to go for a walk in the park, just hoping to get him out their hair. Throughout the film, the birds sing good advice in subtitles beneath their calls. They tell him universal truths about family and health being more valuable than wealth. But Ivo is too arrogant to follow the detective’s instruction, and remains deaf to the wisdom of the birds.

Ivo has a heart attack upon first hearing the money is missing, and discharges himself from hospital to pursue the missing money against medical advice. He’s too hard-headed to take advice from anyone. He pays no heed to the limitations of his body, determined that everything will bend to his will.

Throughout the film, you oscillate between believing Ivo is blinded by his own character in his pursuit of the money, and being swept up in his suspicions as they are, after all, based on the firm foundation that he has treated others poorly and they might want to see him suffer. Are things exactly what they seem? Is this catastrophe perpetuated from the outside, one of life’s many indifferent and anonymous misfortunes? Or is that simply a mask created by someone close, someone with more than simple greed in mind?

In many ways, Bird Atlas is a character study about how one man creates his own downfall, in one way or another. Tense, nicely paced, solid film.