Monday, January 19, 2015
Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2014) Review
Riggan Thomas (Michael Keaton) is a washed up actor who's fame peaked when he starred in a trilogy of super hero films as 'Birdman'. Riggan has decided to have a go at Broadway with an adaptation of a short story titled 'What We Talk About When We Talk About Love'. Over the course of production, Riggan has to handle crappy actors, overbearing actors such as Mike Shinner (Edward Norton), a tormenting critic with a grudge as well as balance his own sanity as his Birdman persona threatens to take over his mind.
Birdman is a wonderfully shot film. I am very curious to see how the script and storyboard where put together as there are technically about 3 scenes. Why? Because there are little to no cuts...at all. The camera is constantly following the action and doesn't let up. It could be disorientating however the director clearly knew what he was doing (I just feel sorry for the camera man who had to walk backwards for most of it). Speaking of the script, it is very well written. The sign of a good film is how it keeps you guessing because I truly never knew which direction the film was going. There were a number of opportunities in which the film could end yet it never took those opportunities. Normally this would be bad but the film is just so engaging that I really didn't want it to end.
The acting is fantastic. This is very much Michael Keaton striking back after years of less than great films (Robocop? Really?). He is perfect for this role because you can just replace the eponymous Birdman with Batman and you get the general idea of what the film is like. There are moments where he proves his acting worth along side other great actors such as Edward Norton and Emma Stone (all three of these actors now being up for Oscars!). This film actually made me a little nostalgic. I've dabbled in stage acting and the way it's presented is quite accurate. Not in the sense that everyone's a egotistical asshole (can't attest to that) but the way the characters work around problems, both in regards to the play and their own mental well being, is one of the elements that keeps the film going.
Birdman is an exquisite and unique film that keeps you invested with it's fascinating script, fantastic acting and wonderful cinematography that makes the film stand out. While it may be too 'different' for casual movie-goers, any film lovers need to watch this, especially now that it has been nominated for 9 Oscars! Do I reckon it will win best picture? Well, you'll find out by the end of this week. Not much more to say than "watch it"!
Wonderfully shot, acted, written and edited. Birdman is a wonderful look at the acting profession and the pros and cons that come with it.