“People, they love blood. They love action. Not this talky, depressing, philosophical bullshit,” said the Birdman.
Here comes the Oscar darling, who gave Mexico two consecutive best directors and Emmanuel Lubezki two consecutive best cinematographers. With 4 Oscars at hands (including Best Picture) along with 2 other wins at Golden Globes and another at BAFTA, Birdman is, obviously, not a usual film.
Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton), a washed-up star who had gained fame through his performance in Birdman—a fictional superhero film—long time ago. Riggan’s currently attempting to gain his fame, his glory back, risking everything he has for a Broadway play he starred and directed. This film is all about Riggan’s attempt in reenacting his old glory—highlighting a period prior to the play when all the hectic schedule passed by and chaotic mess were thick in the air.
Keaton’s Riggan is described as a completely troubled man—he made a tough decision to cast a cantankerous young talent, Mike Shiner (Edward Norton); he hadn’t done making up with his daughter, Sam (Emma Stone); he had his girlfriend pregnant; he made a fuss with a hostile play critic. Yet, his arch-nemesis was always his alter-ego, his old frenemy, Birdman, who always spoke in his mind and disdained him.
I always loved Birdman for its solid script in presenting a complex character study of people among fame and ambition, but that’s not it. What makes Birdman a great film is, it enhances itself with all cinematic experiences we might probably never see before. The whole movie was shot and edited to give perception that all of it was one long take. Emmanuel Lubezki’s camera roamed around the corner—going in and out, following the characters, highlighting how crowded the surrounding is as a juxtaposition to Riggan’s crowded mind—as if it’s guided by a stunning choreographer. To accompany the wild movement of the camera, Antonio Sanchez’ drum score filled the space in Riggan’s mind with some frenzied, frenetic, jazzy drum beat that makes the whole film a unique piece of art.
Besides, I loved Birdman for the acting and characterization. The ensemble of cast was great; yet, the real shining stars were Keaton and Norton. How Birdman juxtaposed Michael Keaton’s career was incredible whether it’s coincidence or not. Keaton portrayed Riggan as an aging actor who feared of his own downfall is just perfect; perhaps, Keaton just became himself or what, but still, Birdman was a perfect comeback for him just like the on-screen play was a perfect comeback for Riggan.
In the end, it stands firm as a born-to-win film, which criticized the thirst of fame and acknowledgement in film industry as well as the involvement of technology in such industry. With solid plot, stellar performances and those cinematic enhancements, Birdman might feel too exuberant and too incredible, but that’s never been bad.
VERDICT: This Oscar darlings is a complex character study of people among fame and ambition. What makes it great is, it enhances itself with all cinematic experiences you might probably never see before; and more, the juxtaposition of the character with the actor is as incredible.
or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
Comedy, Drama Directed by: Alejandro González Iñárritu Written by: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo Starred by: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan Running Time: 119 mins Rated R for language throughout, some sexual content and brief violence