Film Archive

Birdman (2014)

birdman

 Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Synopsis: After his downfall from his glorious role as superhero, Birdman, Riggan (Michael Keaton) is poorly trying to sort back his acting career and family life by performing in a new self written Broadway adaptation of the Raymond Carver story. Seized by his former character’s presence, he finds he cannot change his unusual life-style so easily.

First of all, location location location! Loved it! The film is shot mainly inside the labyrinth corridors of a Broadway theater. The camera, followed by the occasion sounds of Jazz drums, showcases the backstage when mainly focusing on the bewildering character of Michael Keaton (who I praise later on). Others fellow actors appear and we get to see some good familiar faces like Naomi WattsEdward Norton, and Zach Galifianakis. Watts and Norton are Keaton’s co-actors in the play when each has an career struggle of their own. Emma Stone has a small but very significant role here as Riggin’s drug rehabilitated daughter, Sam, who hates her job as her father’s assistant. One big happy family. The acting here is magnificent. As viewers we get a chance to invade the behind the curtains, dressing rooms and unpolished scene rehearsals and experience the characters’ exposure and weaknesses at their best. It’s like everybody roles over in their own shit and still give a great performance at the end of the day. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? There are romances, sad stories and conflicts suited to a classic Broadway show, which the cast pulls off remarkably, like on stage same as off. 

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The entire film is shot like one long scene. The transitions between the scenes are immediate and you don’t get much time to digest the last one you saw when the camera moves forward. I really enjoyed it. There’s a comical ambiance to the film very suiting to the New York City vibe. For me it’s not so easy watching a film 119 min’ long, even if its shot in NYC, so I can’t say it was the easiest watch ever, but I managed… Cutting it by 30 min’ would have helped, though…

Michael Keaton is great. Even when he’s playing the has been actor who’s desperately trying to muster a come back, he rules. This guy shall forever remain positively carved in my memory for his unforgotten role as Beeatlejuice. I know he was on a lot of other films, but I tend to grab on childhood films, as you might know by now. (A little itty bitty tiny little spoiler) In the scene where he gets locked out of the theater in the middle of the premier and walks around Times Square with nothing but his undies and than storms back in the theater and gets back into character, there was a spark of that nutty behavior I fondly remember of the dark and nasty ghost. Keaton is not unfamiliar with playing the superhero either as we all remember how he mastered two Tim Burton Batman films, and the best ones, as I see it. The guy’s just awesome and I am absolutely looking forward to seeing his name appear on the Oscars nominations.

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 My score:
4 lolipop rating
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11 thoughts on “Birdman (2014)

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