Birdman

"Excellent"

Birdman Review


Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu continues to reject traditional narrative structures with this whizzy, ambitious exploration of celebrity, art and commerce. And the clever casting of Michael Keaton adds another layer of meaning to the whole film, which is shot as one long wildly entertaining single take and pointedly subtitled "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance". Blackly hilarious and darkly emotional, this is an exploration of how show business can push a person to the brink of madness. And maybe knock them over the edge.

Keaton stars as Riggan, once a top movie star known for his three Birdman blockbusters. But he hasn't done anything notable since, and is now trying to reboot his career by directing, adapting and starring in a Broadway play based on a Raymond Chandler story. The problem is that no one will let him escape from the iconic superhero character he's best known for, least of all Birdman himself, who mentally haunts and taunts Riggan at every turn. Meanwhile in the theatre, Riggan locks horns with costar Mike (Edward Nortan), a controlling show-off brought in at the request of lead actress Lesley (Naomi Watts). As opening night approaches, Riggan and his producer-friend Jake (Zach Galifianakis) are also struggling with the demands of high-maintenance costar Laura (Andrea Riseborough), plus distractions from Riggan's daughter-assistant (Emma Stone) and ex-wife (Amy Ryan).

Inarritu and ace cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki tell this story as if it's one continuous snaky shot with the camera following Riggan through the maze-like backstage corridors, into the theatre and out into nearby Times Square streets. The virtuoso filmmaking is simply breathtaking, and it works perfectly because all of the characters are packed with pungent details and fully developed inner lives. The actors find all kinds of quirks that are both hilarious and darkly thoughtful, creating jagged interaction as they cross paths with each other, sparring riotously for attention. Every scene bristles with startling revelations and barbed jabs at the Hollywood system.

At the centre, this is an odyssey about a man trying to make sense of who he is in an industry that uses people and throws them away. Keaton plays Riggan's mental instability with remarkable honesty, especially his complete lack of self-awareness (a subplot involving Lindsay Duncan as a cruel New York Times critic is simply brilliant). This is a man struggling against his own image of himself as a superhero. And along with being a fierce depiction of the perils of celebrity and the power of even the most dysfunctional family ties, this is also a remarkably moving look at the dark dangers of believing the myth we have created about ourselves.

Birdman Trailer



Birdman

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 119 mins

In Theaters: Friday 14th November 2014

Box Office USA: $14.4M

Box Office Worldwide: $21.8M

Budget: $18M

Distributed by: Fox Searchlight

Production compaines: Worldview Entertainment, New Regency Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Fresh: 152 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 8.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Alejandro G. Inarritu

Producer: Alejandro G. Inarritu, John Lesher, , James W. Skotchdopole

Starring: as Riggan Thomson / Birdman, as Jake, as Mike Shiner, as Sam Thomson, as Lesley, as Sylvia, as Laura, as Annie, as Tabitha

Also starring:

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