Birdman review

Director:
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Cast:
Michael Keaton
Emma Stone
Zach Galifianakis
Naomi Watts
Edward Norton
Rated: R

“Birdman” was once a famous box-office powerhouse at the movie theaters but lately has fallen out of the public’s eyes in this new film from director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

The man who played the superhero Birdman, Riggan (Keaton) has fallen out of the eyes of many, too, as he hasn’t made a hit movie in years. To get himself back on top he decides to direct and star in a play in New York City. Problems arise, though, as he has to deal with his daughter Sam (Stone) who has just gotten out of rehab and an actor (Norton) who does things his way or the highway.

Birdman is a film that has a lot of depth in both its story and characters, and both subjects are thoroughly explored. What makes the film great is that not only are the various characters and their subplots interesting, they also make statements on a number of topics.

The movie is an exploration of what happens to an actor when it seems like they are past their prime, the conflict between today’s big budget action films and small indies, actors who have an ego they’re trying to escape and the viewpoint from critics of art. The study of these topics throughout the film are also done in a very solid way, using very sharp, witty and emotional dialogue.

The acting in the film is “A+” across the board. Michael Keaton of course deserves the most significant amount of praise as he gives a career defining performance.

What makes Keaton’s performance so good is the aggressiveness he brings to the role. His character comes off as raw, honest and real, which is exactly what the character he was playing needed. Keaton also helps the film by being in the scenes where the Birdman persona is on screen, adding a very edgy side to the picture.

Praise should also be given to Edward Norton, who turned in an energetic, intense acting job. The character he plays takes everything he does far too seriously and Norton is perfect in the portrayal.

Emma Stone also deserves credit for her performance as Riggan’s troubled daughter. The character could easily have been simply an annoyance, but the script and Stone’s performance make it compelling.

The acting, characters and story are aided by phenomenal camera work, too.

Director Iñárritu gives the film a distinct style by filming the entire movie in one continuous shot. The lack of any cuts or edits (from what it looks like on screen), make the film seem continuous and it never gives the audience a chance to catch their breath. It really works in this fast paced flick.

The only problem that the movie may have is the very final shot of the entire film. In my humble opinion, I would have preferred for the movie to end a few frames differently. That being said, though, the ending can still be left open to a lot of interpretation making this a minor flaw.

Overall, “Birdman” is without a doubt one of, if not the best movie of 2014. 5 out of 5.

Advertisements

Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s