Na-na na-na na-na na-na na, BIRDMAN! Oh, wait.
For those of you expecting a comic book movie, this may end up being a disappointment as it’s not that kind of film. However, if you’re looking for what is probably a masterpiece of modern cinema then keep reading, for this is really something special.
Michael Keaton plays Riggan, a washed up actor famous for his cinematic role as a superhero (the Birdman of the title), who is now making one last effort to prove his acting credentials by staging a play on Broadway. The film follows the days leading up to opening night as he tries to balance the needs of the play, his family, his personal life and his ego in the middle of a mid-life crisis.
Perhaps the most fascinating feature of the film was the decision of the director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, to film in what appears to be one single take. There are one or two places where the segments can be seen or surmised but for the most part it is a seamless piece of filming which gives the film energy that pulls you along without pause. It is extremely well done and the only real fault with it, is that it sometimes distracts from the interactions going on between the cast. This really is a film you have to see twice to fully appreciate.
Not only is the direction superb but the cast is as well. This film is full of top-notch performances, there’s not a bad one in the bunch. Keaton is clearly fully invested in a role that surely must feel close to home, Edward Norton shamelessly attempts to steal the show (literally and figuratively) as method actor Mike, Emma Stone expertly balances vulnerability and world-weary cynicism as Riggan’s daughter Sam, really I could go on. Everyone brings their A game and it shows.
This film is odd, full of depth and expertly crafted. I can see that it won’t be for everyone, particularly the Transformers 4 crowd, who have wandered in by accident (and I really mean no offence here, all art is subjective and if you love Transformers – good for you). I can imagine a couple of people in every performance sat on their phones waiting for stuff to blow up but for those who are desperate for a real piece of cinema, this is what you’ve been waiting for.
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