Couch Potato Pickings
On Film4 tonight at 11pm
Here’s a question to get all those twitchers twitching. What is the point of birdwatching?
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about the simple act of observing our feathered friends. That’s entertaining. I often do it myself and even spent an entire day a couple of years ago on a bird reserve in Suffolk where I enjoyed soaking up the nature and the wildlife.
No, what I’m referring to is that activity with almost OCD overtones where those who call themselves ‘twitchers’ tick off bird after bird from a lengthy list. Really, what is the point?
The reason I’m asking about this is because it’s actually a question that’s asked in this film, which is set in a birdwatching hut – a hide to be exact – in the wilds of the Suffolk mudflats.
It begins with keen birdwatcher Roy Tunt getting out his twitcher paraphernalia, carefully preparing for the big day ahead where he hopes to see the last unticked bird on his list.
However his plans are interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Dave John, a slightly edgy stranger with a bird tattoo on his neck who settles down and shows no sign of leaving. Although the atmosphere between them is somewhat strained, the two men don’t shy away from conversation. As time passes and tension builds, Roy shares his lunch with the intruder, as well as his love of birds and words, while outside the police are scouring the area on a manhunt.
Although at times more stagey than cinematic, this slow-burning thriller had me well and truly involved. A lot of people have commented that the surprise ending is easy to guess, but I didn’t cotton on to it until quite late. Mind you, I wasn’t one to guess the twist in The Sixth Sense and The Others either.
If you miss this tonight, you can also catch it on Film4 on Friday at 11pm.