Birdman or (the unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

by | Jan 2, 2014 | 0 comments

A Unique Film that Is Unlike Anything Seen in Cinema Before

What is a critic but a crusher of dreams? A film critic is a cold and cruel mind that looks only once at the months of sweat and passion of artists and either discard or regretfully stamps approval. A critic is a coward, a failed artist that has become a pessimist and envies other artist’s success and opportunities. A critic’s opinion can crush a film’s success, but what is a critic’s opinion but the opinion of one person? How many people are the same? How many people have identical opinions in the vast subject matters covered in film? Don’t worry, I’m not going to stop writing reviews, or be merciful for any film, but this most recent film has really made me reflect on the fragile lives of artists.

Birdman is a film that took a lot of risks, and that is admirable whether such risks ended up rewarding or condemning the film. In Birdman’s case the results are unpredictable for every audience member. Birdman is such a unique film, that it can either be loved or hated by fans, there is no in between. Its risk ends up appealing more to critics than the masses, but it overall makes your reception to it be unique from anyone else’s. However, if you ask for my opinion, I will tell you that Birdman is one of this decade’s best films. There is no other film like it.

Birdman reminded me a lot of Begin Again, in the way that it conveyed the career struggles and benefits of an artist (in the case of Begin Again it was musicians). Birdman tells the story of an actor, Riggan (Michael Keaton), who seeks to revive his career on a Broadway play he adapts, directs, and stars in. In his peak years, Riggan had been the titular character in a superhero franchise called Birdman, decades ago; after refusing to do any more sequels, however, his acting career faded away. But in his journey for re-vindication Riggan has to also battle: to gain back the love of the daughter he was never there for (Emma Stone), to prevent his celebrity co-star (Edward Norton) from outshining him, to keep his cast together, appease critics, and to prevent himself from going mad.

There are various aspects that make Birdman different from any movie you’ve ever seen. For one, Birdman is filmed so that it all looks like one seamless shot. Now while the cinematography might get all the credit in this feat, it really is the editing that deserves the praise, it must have been nerve-racking to stitch together the film so that it would look that way. Another aspect that I enjoyed was the fact that the music was percussion-based and performed in a jazzy and loose kind of way. When analyzing it one sees that there really is no other music that could have properly conveyed the immediacy and complete chaos of an artist’s life.

The acting was spectacular thanks to a resurrecting Michael Keaton (who’s own career parallels that of Riggan) who might just have given his best performance yet. Keaton portrays Riggan in such a realistic and confused way that, along with the seamless editing, the audience felt they were seeing everything in the first person. One literally felt as if we were experiencing the film from Keaton’s own eyes. Meanwhile Edward Norton also might have given a performance that not only earned him critical acclaim, but a mainstream resurgence as well. The more minor players include Naomi Watts who plays a cast member and Edward Norton’s wife and is able to give us the true distress and emotional breakdowns that actors and generally artists feel. And Emma Stone, the actress that appears in every movie today, ranging from The Amazing Spiderman to Woody Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight, she keeps mesmerizing audiences and bettering herself with every film.

One mustn’t overlook Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu’s responsibility in the film. The Mexican native was the man responsible of taking such risks in the narrative and cinematic aspects. Iñarritu wrote and directed Birdman and he does so in such a way that it reminds us of the long lost auteurs of the likes of Hitchcock, Orson Welles, and Billy Wilder.

Birdman is a must see, it hypnotizes those loyal moviegoers, and lets them experience a unique journey. But for others the film might seem incredibly weird and boring, who’s ending and symbolism you did not understand. Depends how you choose to look at it.








What is your film about actors? Let me know in the comments section.

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