Birdman (Film Review)

Jan 24, 2015
How Director Alejandro Gonzales Iῆárritu opened ‘Birdman’ is somewhat odd. The lead character appears for the first time meditating, afloat wearing nothing but his underwear. But the way he presented it onscreen is brilliant; putting me under a certain type of spell that made me stunned the whole time. ‘Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)’ is cinema magic at its best. The film is hypnotic and undeniably hilarious, making it one of the most refreshing movie experiences in recent memory. 

Michael Keaton headlines this all-star ensemble, playing the role of Riggan Thomson—an actor downgrading his career after leaving a superhero franchise he stars—who wants a comeback at the business in the form of directing, producing and starring in a Raymond Carver play at Broadway. But through the days leading up to opening night, Riggan must deal with family, life, love, friends, actors, relevance, and his alter-ego Birdman.
Despite being a part heavy drama, the film makes an effective comedy on its own. Many portions of the movie dedicate its craft by self-parodying its actors, and how they deal with their absurdity. Take Michael Keaton’s hey-days donning the Batman cape in Tim Burton’s superhero films as an example. The movie pokes the fact that Keaton might‘ve been more successful if he says yes to another Batman movie. The same way Edward Norton essentially plays himself in the movie, a very talented actor but a demanding and big douche behind the curtains to reach a higher level of quality in his profession. 

Also, the movie became very self-aware at the things it does. It satirizes summer blockbusters (‘Transformers’ and any superhero movie to be exact), and how audience always prefer them over dramatic, art-house, substance-driven movies. One of the most memorable bits of this film was when Michael Keaton gives a very honest monologue on film criticism, that some critics made their reviews  just to create a quote on the back of a Blu-ray cover.
The performance by everyone was great. Michael Keaton managed to create multiple layers on his character that deals with the multiple layers of the film. Edward Norton and Emma Stone are also good here, which is no surprise considering the Oscar nods attached for their characters in this film. Even Zach Galifianakis was terrific with his breakthrough performance as Keaton’s best friend in the movie. 
The most ambitious aspect of ‘Birdman’ was of how it flows, making it as one seemingless, unbroken shot. It’s kind of like the infamous restaurant tracking shot in Martin Scorsese’s (Scorsees??) ‘Goodfellas’ but it goes on in 2 hours. Following its characters to every place imaginable—on the stage, backstage, on the street, on the roof—it adds a level of unpredictability to the story, and you don’t know where it will take you. 
Every year, there will be that one film that never leaves a lasting effect on you. ‘Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)’ was snappy, hypnotic and downright fun time at the movies, and its technical wonder alone is worth the catch.

The geek rates it 10/10.

'Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) opens January 28 exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas from 20th Century Fox!
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