Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu; Main Cast: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan;
Art imitates life, or so it seems, in this film but it left me wondering if Inarritu’s last effort is campy navel-gazing or a honest, tongue-in-cheek look at the entertainment business? I must say I’m not completely sold on the latter. Using a rather ingenious editing move (shooting the whole film in one, continuos take!) and an inspired soundtrack, Inarritu introduces the audience to a collection of different types (or archetypes) of actors and somewhat hefty themes: art and fame, vanity and self-worth. Riggan (Keaton), a once famous actor, has reached stardom interpreting a popular superhero (starts with b…finishes with …man, little on the nose maybe?) but he has fallen into obscurity in more recent years. Eager to revamp his career and be accepted by the high-brow critics, he is directing, producing and acting in a Broadway play he has adapted from Raymond Carver’s story What we talk about when we talk about love. The film follows Riggan in the few days before the premiere, while he struggles with mundane issues as director/producer and with his inner demons embodied by Birdman himself, who follows him around and talks like he has been gargling marbles. His internal conflict is sometimes fueled, sometimes abated by the people surrounding him: his manager and friend Jake (Galifianakis, casted against type and a pleasant surprise!), his recovering addict daughter Sam (Stone), his girlfriend and actress Laura (Riseborough), his leading lady Lesley (Watts), his ex-wife Sylvia (Ryan) and, last but not least, Mike (Norton), renown stage actor who lives only for the craft. There is an interesting mix of comic and dramatic moments in the story, with the right touch of surreal that reminds me a little of Michel Gondry‘s style. Riggan wants desperately to prove that he is a real artist, well versed in the craft, and not a washed up movie star, he wants to leave something behind that’s worthy and, most of all, he wants to matter. In the end this film is about very human feelings we can all relate to and understand. Keaton gives a great performance, one that can propel him back to stardom, so life mimics art after art has imitated life…ok, I have a headache now…Anyway the supporting cast, in particular Norton, is pretty amazing as well and improve the already good quality of the film. Innovative and thought-provoking —7/10
4 responses to “Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Watched it tonight and laughed quite a bit. Both Keaton and Norton killed it.
They are both very good and they have great on-screen chemistry.
I’m probably going to be the last to the party for this film. It has eluded me, thus far. Thanks for the review. Nicely put. Looking forward to seeing it.
Thanks for reading Gareth, enjoy the film!