Meet Birdman, the first movie of the year to be a 100 percent shoe-in for Best Picture in this year’s Oscar race.
Michael Keaton plays Riggan, a character who’s life mirrors that of the actor portraying him. Both are most well known for the on-screen superhero characters that they played in their prime. Twenty-something years later, they still can’t escape their caped past. Not knowing Keaton personally, I can’t say if this next bit about Riggan is true to him or not, but it’s the character aspect from which the whole film revolves. Riggan is washed up and wants nothing more than to be relevant again, so he takes to Broadway with a play that he’s adapted, directed and stars in. If the major obstacles in his life don’t ruin him before opening night, then he just might have a comeback.
Birdman is an absolutely fun-to-watch film, a train-wreck that you can’t peel your eyes away from. Riggan is losing it. Seriously. His Birdman alter ego is starting to take over. Constantly cussing him out, putting him down, telling him to give up on this artistic aspiration and give the people what they really want – Birdman 4. This is the biggest of Riggan’s troubles in the film: mentally crumbling – but it’s not the only of his troubles. On top of that, the play’s secondary lead is injured on set, so Riggan hires an egotistical, pretentious show-boat to fill in (Edward Norton). The two clash is spectacular fashion. Riggan’s rehabilitating daughter (Emma Stone) works as his assistant, but lingers around and brings drama to the production-in-progress. And Riggan’s mistress drops some distressing news on him just prior to the opening.
Birdman‘s story is exceptionally entertaining to watch unfold, but there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface. It’s artistically creative, appearing to unravel in a single seamless take (without taking place in “real-time”) – only without becoming distracting in the slightest. The film is a black comedy offering blunt commentary on the careers and lives of both stage and screen actors. It’s bold, beautiful and brilliant, a title that you certainly shouldn’t miss.
(Photo credit: Fox Searchlight)