Birdman film review
directed by Alejandro Inarritu
starring Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Zack Galifianakis, Emma Stone
And I thought Richard Linklater’s Boyhood would be the best film I’d see all year. Whoops. Birdman, directed, acted, shot, edited, and scored to perfection, is a monstrously creative film, and the strongest one of the year yet. And with it, Michael Keaton gives the comeback performance of the decade, and the best performance of the year.
The film also happens to show the main character making a comeback performance himself. Oh, the irony. Keaton, hilarious, heartbreaking, and delusional, plays Riggan, a once famous actor who played the high-flying hero Birdman. Years after turning down Birdman 4, Riggan falls back on hard times, and uses the money he has left to put on a Broadway show, based on a short story by author Raymond Carver. And with that, we also get never better performances from the film’s supporting cast. Zach Galifianakis, in a nearly joke free role, is wonderful as Riggan’s trusted producer. Edward Norton enters the Oscar race too as an actor in Riggan’s play, who’s talent and manipulation drives Riggan bonkers. And look out for the storm created by Emma Stone, who plays Riggan’s right out of rehab daughter. There’s a hell of a scene set backstage when she shoots harsh truths at Riggan like venomous arrows, but still displays her love for her father.
Despite the performances, the real star of the show is the glorious cinematography by camera genius Emmanuel Lubezki(Gravity),who makes the whole film feel like a two hour continuous shot. Keaton, who is on camera for 99% of the film, plays Riggan in a way that audiences will certainly relate to. And as Riggan’s reality often takes its surreal turns, we are right there with him, witnessing every insane thing from his head(look out for the flame-balls!).
Despite what the lame Academy might think, what director Inarritu, Michael Keaton’s performance, and Lubezki have given us is an exhilarating experiment in cinema, and a creative high that will last days, maybe even weeks, once you’ve left the theater. The film ask us question, why would anyone want to be in this shitty business? Whatever that answer may be, one thing is for sure – Birdman is a brilliantly weird masterpiece, and a cinematic landmark. Look out.