"Birdman" is an amazing movie any way you view it. Some will be bowled over by the performances, each and every member of the cast are playing their A game. Some will be enthralled by the camera work, long winding long shots that go on forever. Some will marvel at the dialogue, sentences that slice and dice and then slice and dice some more. And some will be stunned by the originality of the presentation of the concept, a down and out Hollywood actor makes a bid for success on Broadway. All will remember this movie and study this movie because it is so good in every respect.
Riggin Thomson (Keaton) is a Hollywood actor whose best days are supposedly behind him. He had a major success playing "Birdman", a superhero character of sorts, but once he stepped away from that role it was all downhill for him in Hollywood. Now he has put up everything he owns to direct and star in a play based on a Raymond Chandler story.
Once we are introduced to Riggin we learn he suffers from delusions. He constantly imagines he is talking with the real Birdman and that he has "super" powers of some type. Once we accept that fact then we can jump in and try to determine what is real and what is unreal in his life. We study this over the course of a few days as he moves through previews of his play on up into opening night.
We also meet the important people in his life and these include his daughter Sam (Emma Stone), his attorney (Zack Galifianakis), his ex-wife (Amy Ryan), the other members of the cast of his play (Naomi Watts, Edward Norton and Andrea Riseborough), and the theater critic (Lindsay Duncan). Riggin interacts with each of these people and they give insight into his life and character.
Seeing Michael Keaton fall into this role so naturally is unexpected. He has always been known to have talent, but hardly of this magnitude. His depth and knowledge of who and what this character is amazed me, and then he threw it all out there on the screen. Director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu made the choice of the decade by allowing Keaton access to this role. It is a perfect blend of man and part.
The movie is rated R for profanity, violence and nudity.
"Birdman" is a rare bird of a movie. It is unexpected, surprising and in some ways shocking. It is first and foremost one of the most intriguing and entertaining movies of the year.
I scored "Birdman" a winged 8 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper