Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Posted by reelgirl
Let’s take a moment to get this out of your heads and off your minds –
Oh you have no idea what that was all about? Well, Google on your own time (please do, that show was fantastic) because we’re going down a road dredged with madness, mayhem, and really, really cool effects.
Riggan Thomas (Michael Keaton) is a former blockbuster hero attempting to revitalize his career by producing a play based on the Raymond Carver story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” After a rogue spotlight leaves Riggan without a supporting actor, Broadway prima donna Mike Shiner (Edward Norton) steps in and sends Riggan down a spiral of self-doubt and denial. Fortunately, Riggan has his alter-ego, Birdman, to by his side – that is, until one is destined to take over the other.
From the very beginning, Alejandro González Iñárritu casts us into Riggan’s mind, driving each movement home with a raw, disjunct score and gorgeous composition. Each moment of mania and fragility is captured as the camera almost seamlessly sweeps through the story. We’re witnessing an introspective journey, gliding along the spectrum of self-deprecation and egomania – like Black Swan, but really, really fun.
What I found most refreshing about this film, though a midlife crisis story, can easily appeal to Gen-Y folks as well. We’re dealing with existential crisis brought on by our own design, as Sam (Emma Stone) points out, this is a time when everyone’s screaming for attention as loudly as they can – and if you don’t exist online, you hardly exist at all. More so, this story takes place on Broadway – an industry struggling for relevancy. And if that wasn’t heavy enough, what kind of professional is more fragile than an actor?
Unfortunately, when one character is followed from the get-go, it feels as if the story strays when it’s time to focus on other characters. These dialogues do offer some context for the characters, but retrospectively feel more superfluous in the grand scheme of things.
Despite this gripe, I think Birdman might be one of my favorite films this year. It’s dark, funny, daring, and downright unforgettable. Pure essay fodder. Plus Michael Keaton’s still got it.
Final Grade: A