2013, 72 minutes
Review by Joshua Handler
Omar Mullick and Bassam Tariq's moving documentary These Birds Walk tells the stories of an ambulance driver, Asad, and a runaway boy, Omar, in Karachi, Pakistan. These Birds Walk is a documentary that will likely not get the attention it deserves, which is a shame given that a big film with no right to exist will draw audiences by the droves this weekend.
While These Birds Walk is far too short at 72 minutes, it packs a big emotional punch due to the heart-wrenching subject matter. Omar's scenes are by far the highlight of the film and the reason I wished that this film had run longer. While we get to know both Omar and Asad over the course of the film, I wish I had gotten more time with them. They are fascinating subjects from very troubled homes. When Omar is on screen doing something as mundane as talking with friends, it is interesting. At the beginning of the film, he is talking with his friend, Shehr, at the shelter they're staying at. Sheher is the reason why life is bearable at the shelter for Omar. At one point during this conversation, Omar does something that makes Sheher sad and upon realizing this, Omar hugs Sheher and says, "Don't cry. You're my little brother." This little moment is so impactful because it shows the deep love that these two have for each other and shows the depth of their relationship.
These Birds Walk is beautifully shot and tightly edited, but again, I wish it was longer. There is so much to explore and so much more that I would have liked to see, such as more scenes of Asad. While Asad has his fair share of screen time, I wish he had more because there are brief moments in the film where he discusses his past, which are illuminating.
Overall, These Birds Walk is a gripping documentary that should please just about anyone who goes to see it. Its lack of sentimentality is admirable and shows that the material is powerful enough to ellicit enough emotion on its own.