6.5/10 Based on the true story of a young soldier’s gay love affair with an officer fighter pilot on a Soviet Air Force Base during the height of the Cold War, “Firebird” is well made and acted but lacks passion and has a rushed first act. Most gay or lesbian films today (especially historical ones that take place decades before our current time period) are in the category of forbidden love. Two men or two women who if they would have been caught, could have been imprisoned or killed. While “Firebird” being a true story as opposed to a fictional one adds a layer of sorrow onto it, the fact that there are so many LGBT forbidden love stories already makes this one have a tougher time at standing out when you have great films like “Brokeback Mountain” or “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”. Luckily there are several elements to admire about this film. Besides the fact that this is based upon true events, the dialogue feels natural, the acting is well done and the production elements are fantastic. Everything from the cinematography/lighting to the recreation of the time period through its production design and costume design, the film certainly looks the part. Our two male leads Tom Prior (as Sergey Serebrennikov) and Oleg Zagorodnii (as Roman Matvejev) certainly have chemistry and the injection of a love triangle complicates the story in a strong and emotional way. The problem is that the first act rushes their romance so quickly that it is never really developed and therefore feels less real, intimate and passionate than it should feel. The pacing works but the film could have added another 10-15 minutes to develop their relationship from their initial meeting/working together to falling for each other. It hurts the rest of the film moving forward as their relationship lacks the fire that it should have, making certain aspects of the film feel vanilla and generic. With so many films overcrowding (and over-representing) the LGBT field in Hollywood, “Firebird” is well made but won’t stick out as memorable. Just last June (gay pride month), I reviewed three LGBT films in theaters and only one of the three sticks with me nearly a year later while the other two have essentially faded from memory. Unfortunately, despite its intentions, “Firebird” most likely won’t remain in my mind for much longer.

#SirGay / #RussianIntoLove / #ThePrivatesPrivates / #SponsoredByRoman / #PriorsRemorse / #FromRussiaWithLust

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