Plot – A washed-up superhero actor attempts to revive his fading career by writing, directing, and starring in a Broadway production – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Director – Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Released – 2015
Now and then a director gives you a film, unlike anything you’ve seen before. Birdman is definitely one such movie. Alejandro González Iñárritu has a habit of playing around with the conventions of filmmaking, not that it always leads to an enjoyable experience, Babel, for example, was an interesting concept, just didn’t work for me in execution, however, here his unconventional style works to produce a quirky and fun movie, with a sense that something unexpected is right around the corner. Being filmed in a way that gives you the impression of one continuous shot in much the same way as Sam Mendes recently did with 1917.
Iñárritu seemingly has a way of getting the best out of his actors and here is no different, with everyone’s performances nothing short of superb, Most of all Keaton in the lead role. He’s simply captivating in the role of Riggan and never produces a single weak scene, and despite character flaws, you can’t help but be glued to watching his journey progress and intrigued to see how it all ends. With the filming style aiding this by not giving the audience downtime and injecting it with same the hustle-bustle associated with the theatre.
Of the supporting cast, the two that shone the brightest were Norton and Stone. Both of which are interesting and complicated characters you miss when they’re not on screen and further development of the characters wouldn’t have been a bad thing.
Not that the amount provided wasn’t enough to get a good idea of both of their motivations and the knock-on effects with the other characters. Proving that he has the ability to be more than the lovable idiot he usually plays, I must also give credit to Galifinakis for taking on a role outside of his usual comfort zone and doing well in it.
Now, much like Iñárritu’s other work, Birdman won’t be for everyone. The style and cerebral nature of Riggan’s visions do take some getting used too and despite being billed as a comedy, there aren’t any moments of laugh-out-loud comedy, which may disappoint some, especially when they see Galifinakis as part of the cast, though I’d argue this isn’t a fault of the script as this has clearly been well thought out and the dialogue is excellently written, instead the fault lies with the advertising of the film (though this isn’t something unique just to Birdman, films have been bate and switching for a long time).
In conclusion, Birdman is an interesting film that’s definitely worth multiple viewings, first for the story that plays out beautifully and second for the indicate technical aspects that are a treat to behold. Not only this, but can enjoy both Keaton and Norton giving performances well worthy of their Oscar nominations.
If you liked: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, La La Land, Boyhood