Birdman (2014)


Pros
  • Michael Keaton is without a doubt the top contender for the Best Actor Oscar
  • The casting situation could not have been more perfect, Keaton is the walking embodiment of his character and Edward Norton is notoriously difficult to work with, just like his character in the film
  • The highlight of the film is without question to cinematography of the film, the whole film is shot/edited to look like one, single, steady-cam shot
  • The production design looks fantastic, the long, narrow hallways of the set, create a labyrinth of interesting nooks and crannies
  • Hyper-Realism
  • Birdman breaking the fourth wall and talking to the audience about big budget, Hollywood films!
  • The movie's storyline of a washed up actor, giving one last shot at fame, feels completely real (but not entirely original)
  • Added layer of his subconscious and all the abstractness that comes with that is fascinating to watch and interpret its cryptic meaning
  • A nice tidbit about how technology is such a prominent tool for staying relevant in today's society (which is most certainly is)
  • I loved the slyness of the director providing clues to Birdman having superpowers, but then at other times, making theme seem fictitious
  • There are some very good comedic tones present in the film, quite a bit of meta-humor that pokes fun at today's Hollywood themes/styles
  • Can't help but gush over the similarities between Michael Keaton's career and his character Riggan (though, Keaton said this is the least he has had in common with a character he has ever played)

Cons
  • I'm probably in the minority when I say that I thought the films drum beating score just didn't feel right for the film, it didn't seem to flow with the movie at all and came across as distracting
  • In the end, I feel like the daughter plot line didn't go anywhere conclusive with Edward Norton's character
  • It feels like the technical aspects outshine the narrative aspects
  • There are a ton of similarities between Birdman and 2010's Black Swan, I couldn't help but think Black Swan is the superior film (probably not a good thing for a movie to make a viewer reminisce of a different movie)
  • The biggest drawback of the film had to be that it was a tad predictable, we knew where the 3rd act and conclusion was heading, just not how it was going to get there
  • Looking back, I had absolutely no emotion connection with the movies characters, I didn't care much for any character, just the actors themselves playing those roles

Score: 8/10

Birdman is without question a technical marvel that should be seen by anyone serious about filmmaking. The cinematography is groundbreaking, I wouldn't be surprised if it sparks a new wave of films trying to capture those magical moments of following actors around, while delivering lines for up to 10-15 minutes at a time. And, of course, the actors are completely up to the challenge, they give some very strong performances, especially Michael Keaton who is the frontrunner in the Best Actor category. But while the movie had all of these fantastic technical achievements (acting, production design, and cinematography), the storyline seemed just a tad derivative for me. When I say that, I mean the classic, 'a has been giving it one last shot at fame', but instead of the common sports story theme, it's about an acting career. I think people are giddy over the fact that the movie basically describes Keaton's acting career and are giving the film slightly too much praise for that sole reason, had it been a different actor playing Riggan, the results would (in my mind) be less spectacular.

When all is said and done, the movie didn't have much 'excitement' or 'thrills', it certainly had its moments, but not a strong driving force that kept me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next scene to come. And as a final thought (I left it out of the pros/cons listing because I wasn't sure what to think of it), Birdman really got me reminiscing about, Black Swan and The Wrestler, I won't list the similarities, but there are plenty of them (especially between Black Swan). I prefer both of those films when compared to Birdman, I think they feature stronger central characters. But my point is that I'm unsure as to whether it's a good thing that Birdman inspired me to recollect my thoughts of similar movies and compare the bunch, or it was an unfortunate sin, because it took my thoughts away from Birdman.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) on IMDb

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