Birdman (2014)

Yes, y’all, I finally saw Birdman, and it was quite the wild ride.

Riggan (Michael Keaton) is a washed-up former superhero actor that is trying to revive his career by directing, writing and staring in his Broadway play.  As issues arise from starting the play, Riggan also deals with the identity crisis of trying to move on from his role as Birdman.

I walked into this movie only knowing that it received the most nominations–a hefty seven–for the Golden Globes. That and everyone and their mother said that this is the best movie of the year, so I thought, “why not?!”  It was good, but not the best thing I have seen this year.

It is definitely an performance driven movie.  Edward Norton as the typical “tortured artist-method actor” was brilliant, and enough of a reason to see the film.  Both he and Keaton had a hilarious chemistry that definitely sped up the pace of the plot line.  Keaton also added the right amount of humor and seriousness as Riggan and will certainly be recognized for his performance.  Other stars like Zach Galifianakis as Keaton’s manager and Emma Stone as Keaton’s post-drug addict daughter were also perfect additions to this bizarre film.

Things I loved:

I loved how there was a constant drumming in the background that both helped reiterated the tone and created a transition between shots.  It was just what was needed to help keep the pace moving for this two and a half hour movie.  The one-shot film style was perfect for the storyline because it created this idea that the audience was actually there watching what was going on and let the audience see what the characters were doing in a more linear fashion.  The script style had a theatrical feel to it when the actors were “not performing,” but being themselves, which showed the audience the intensity and drama that is theater people.  This is also funnier than I expected.  I thought that this was going to be a more serious film, but it has that dark, dry humor that I tend to love.

Things I could have done without:

The “Birdman” voice that was present throughout was strange but understandable. It was strange when Keaton would switch to The Birdman and fly and such.  I understand that it was to demonstrate the thin line of reality vs. fantasy, but I just didn’t think it was as good as I expected it to be.

I just didn’t leave going “wow.”  Maybe this is because everyone built up the expectations that it was going to be excellent, but I just didn’t feel the movie theatre magic that everyone else seemed to feel.  But don’t get me wrong, I would recommend this to see just so you can have a better judgment when Award season comes round the corner.  But, if you are more of a traditionalist in your movie section, you might want to skip out on this one.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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