Birdman SPOILER-FREE Review


Birdman is a movie I have wanted to see for a while. The first trailers looked interesting but my interest really peaked when it began getting Oscar buzz. The film is currently nominated for nine Academy Awards. I got the chance to see the film and I'm really glad I did because this is a great movie.

It tells the story of Riggan (Michael Keaton), a washed up actor who used to play a superhero called Birdman, who is desperately trying to revamp his career by writing, directing and starring in his own Broadway play. From right of the bat we see that Riggan isn't exactly sane. He struggles with the duality of Birdman, who constantly feeds him with false knowledge. He also imagines himself actually having the powers Birdman has. It's clear Riggan hasn't gotten over his past stardom, which is brilliantly portrayed through subtlety rather than flat-out explained in dialogue. Riggan's leading man is hospitalized early on and he needs to get a new actor. That's when he meets Mike (Edward Norton), a famed actor who begins to take over the production with his hyper-method style of acting. He was fantastic in this movie. Other stand-outs include Emma Stone as Riggan's daughter. She gives him a wake-up call in this great scene that is most likely the reason for her Oscar nomination. Zach Galifianakis was also great, though his appearance in the film was brief.


While the performances drove the movie, what made it so interesting was the way it was shot. There are only sixteen visible cuts in the film. Scenes were shot to follow characters all around the set and would have twenty minute takes in order to capture the effect that the movie was all one take. And it is absolutely incredible the way this was filmed. It adds so much to the movie and makes the feat even more impressive. The writing was also fantastic in this movie, as it dealt with very deep issues of sanity, reality and relationships. I don't understand why awards have pegged this movie as a comedy because it is not at all. There are maybe three comedic moments in the film. 

Overall, this is a fantastic movie. It really speaks not just about stardom and the film and theater industry, but as well as the importance of social media in forging a career. It talks about these issues through well-crafted dialogue and keeps you invested through incredible performances, all while being one take. What is also interesting is that the whole story of Riggan trying to regain his celebrity status is very similar to the story of Michael Keaton, who played Batman a while back and is trying to revamp his career with this movie. I found that parallel very fascinating. This movie is just more proof that 2014 was a fantastic year for film, and I think it will do very well for itself at the Academy Awards.

8.7/10


What do you think? Have you seen Birdman yet? Did you like it? How do you think it will fare at the Academy Awards? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Written by: Nate
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