Birdman directed by Alejandro Gonzalez is a film that has a lot to say about not just the landscape of modern film but also how it is consumed and how people express their opinion after that consumption. At the heart of the film though is the story of a troubled man and his search for his true identity. This film absolutely succeeds in expressing those themes and though it may be a struggle for some cinema goers it is a film that I think tells an important message and in a very fulfilling way.
I’m just going to jump straight in by stating that Michael Keaton is superb in this film, now I know that’s not a revolutionary thing to say, many people are already lauding him for his performance but I just wanted to throw my hat into that ting, he really is just brilliant in this film. Keaton never once misses a beat in this film, he brings the laughs (the very dark humour type of laughs I might add), he brings the emotion of a man beat down by the world and overall he just pulls you in and makes you almost feel like a part of his messed up little world, Keaton is a joy to watch in this film and if nothing else his performance sells this film.
On top of the brilliance of Keaton there is the supporting cast which gives us some greats. Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis and Naomi Watts all bring their A – game and play so well off of Keaton’s madness, Edward Norton in particular stands out as the antagonist for Keaton’s character, I have certainly missed seeing him in good films recently and he absolutely nails the egotistical theatre actor shtick that you hear about.
There were however sometimes in the film where I felt the writing was a little self-indulgent. The writers seemed to be getting a little carried away with themselves at points, whether it was their commentary on the state of theatre and the politics behind it all or it was their under handed digs at the movie business right now, don’t get me wrong I feel there are some worrying problems within the heart of the movie business at the moment but for me personally they at times felt a little to on the nose and didn’t always seem to be connected to the actual plot or the characters within the film.
This is still a film that has a message to it, and it was certainly one that I felt was more or less on point. It was enjoyable to see the film poke fun at itself and some of the norms within modern cinema and I also enjoyed its commentary on social media and what being a celebrity entails in today’s reality. This made the film feel like more than just an egocentric character piece which is what this could have turned into had the film not had so many more layers of purpose.
Technologically this is also a film that impresses. Its clever camera trickery to make the film almost feel like one continuous shot made certain scenes in particular so much more involving, you really do have to give this film your full attention as a single scene could last ten to fifteen minutes before it has a subtle cut. Now this might be difficult for some people in the audience, it certainly does make the film feel longer than it actually is, but for me I loved it. I enjoyed seeing the subtle camera tricks and how they would keep certain scenes moving without any noticeable cuts or any cuts at all. Doing this made scenes feel so much more fulfilling and many of the actors in the film deserve a lot of credit for their flawless performances in these extensive moments.
Would I recommend Birdman? Absolutely, you should make every effort to see this film. It trips up once or twice but overall this is a brilliant film with some stunning performances and moments of just absolute brilliance. I loved it and I hope you do as well.