Birdman: Film Review

bird1

This is doing so well at the awards nominations stages, so clearly I had to check it out and the actors involved definitely deserve their mentions – their performances are brilliant here.

Michael Keaton stars as Riggan, a washed-up actor who quit a popular action hero franchise (Birdman) and is now trying to prove himself as a legitimate talent by writing, directing and starring in a Broadway play. We follow the trials and tribulations of staging a play – from the high-maintenance lead actor (Edward Norton), his girlfriend trying to make it big (Naomi Watts), the lawyer/producer trying to keep the production afloat (Zach Galifianakis) and out-of-rehab daughter who is acting as an assistant (Emma Stone).

_AF_6405.CR2

What I liked about this the most is the camera work because it is so unique and original. The tracking shots are insane and are made to seem like it is all one take as the camera follows different dramas taking place in the theatre in the run-up to opening night. The cinematography here is so clever and you wonder how long it must have taken to rehearse the movements. It really helps it make the production feel chaotic and the atmosphere backstage quite claustrophobic.

It is very apt casting Keaton because obviously he once played a superhero himself (Batman), so Riggan feels like him. The character is either mentally unhinged, or he can actually move objects with his mind. We are never explicitly told if the superhero abilities are real or imagined. One scene suggested it is all in his mind but then the end makes it completely ambiguous. I’m not a person who likes unclear endings so I was annoyed that it made me question what I thought I knew.

bird3

While Keaton is brilliant, for me the real stars of the piece were Norton and Stone. I haven’t seen Stone in such a gritty role and she is amazing. There is one moment where she embarks on a massive rant at her dad and I was in awe of the hatred she was spewing. Brilliant. Norton’s character brings the most laughs for sure as the asshole of the piece. Norton steals every scene in this.

I was loving it just before the end, when an incident occurs onstage which should likely result in death, but it doesn’t. I thought it was a bit ridiculous, which is at odds to the realism which we have been seeing backstage. That was followed by the ambiguous ending, which I mentioned before. So the ending left me feeling a bit deflated, which is disappointing because it was so good before then.

bird4

There are some remarkable scenes in this that deserve a mention – Keaton running through Times Square in his underwear because he gets locked out of the stage door and has to get in through the main entrance. He did that for real and it is amazing! I also loved a scene where Norton’s onstage erection is the centre of attention.

This is brilliant – I love the concept, the production and the acting. While the plot was great, it is the performances and technical genius which really shine here.

 

Released 1st January 

Trackbacks

  1. […] and Emma Stone who need awards for their roles! I have already seen and you can check my review here. Released: 1st […]

  2. […] This is seriously old now – why does the UK get awards bait films so late?! This was awesome for the performances all around and the incredible camera work. The script was hilarious, tight and so well-observed and Michael Keaton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone and Edward Norton all brought it. No wonder director Alejandro G. Inarritu won the Oscar. Review. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: