(1984)3.5Brendon HanleyThough set in a veterans hospital after the Vietnam War, Birdy is not a film about the war or its effects; and while it might focus on a deranged patient and the struggle to return him to normalcy, the film isn't really about mental illness either. In fact, it's a credit to director Alan Parker and stars Matthew Modine and Nicholas Cage that Birdy, no matter how bizarre, maintains its focus on the humanity of central characters instead of wallowing in the weird. Parker -- who brought us Pink Floyd: The Wall and Melody, a movie about ten-year-olds in love -- is one of the few filmmakers who can establish a connection between the audience and a guy who sleeps naked in a bird cage. A good deal of praise belongs to the actors: Modine delivers a stirring performance as the title character, and Cage's blend of intensity and vulnerability is perfect for the role of Birdy's concerned friend, even if he at times goes over the edge. The film was based on a William Wharton novel originally set in World War II; another Wharton book was the source for A Midnight Clear.