- Directed by: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
- With: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton
- 119 Minutes
“A thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing.”
If there’s one think I truly hate is to be super hyped up for a movie and then I leave the theater room disappointed… Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) was one of the movies I was dying to see the most from 2014 and from all the reviews and opinions I’ve read around the internet, there was no way I wasn’t going to enjoy it. So I was all hyped up for Birdman… I’m ready Iñárritu… Give me the best you got! Since the moment I started hearing drums till the credits roll, my eyes were stuck into something magical and definitely absorbing. Birdman is clearly not the movie the regular moviegoer wants to see but, behind the curtains of that huge theater and after witnessing a terrific performance by Michael Keaton I must admit… Iñárritu you did it!
You start hearing drums and the letters start appearing… His vision begins… Riggan was known as an iconic super hero called “The Birdman”. He was a movie guy and before the third installment of the saga his career was quite amazing. However just like in real word, most of the times, sequels end up ruining the show. Riggan however knew when the right time to quit was and he was now preparing himself for one of the toughest missions he had to accomplish. It was time to reinvent himself and to become the one man he always believed he was… And so, he decides to direct a play in New York based on a Raymond Carver’s short story called What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. In Birdman, Iñárritu invites his viewers into a journey about the reinvention of an actor and about his path to success while witnessing a series of curious events that will test Riggan’s skills to the limit… Will he be able to prove everyone how talented he really is? The path to glory, the fulfillment of a dream or simply the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, Birdman is the rise and the fall of a star who wanted to be remembered as more than just a superhero in a costume.
Accompanying Riggan on his way to “eternal glory” is Jake, his best friend and the producer of his play, interpreted by the funny Zach Galifianakis who left his comfort zone to prove to everyone that he is more than just a funny guy. Galifianakis plays one of Riggan’s pillars in the story… A friend who is there to advise and to comfort Riggan when he is lost and confused or simply when the whole thing is about to be cancelled. Riggan’s daughter, Sam, interpreted by Emma Stone, just got out from Rehab and it’s a bit more dynamic than Jake… Sam is constantly showing interesting details in her personality… From a fighter to a victim, from a funny girl to a mean girl tired of helping her own father who was not there when she needed the most… Sam is a wild card in Birdman and she is wisely played… She helps the viewer understand a bit of Riggan’s thoughts and instead of giving up on everything she decides to open her dad’s eyes when the only thing he can do is to only think about what’s best for him. Together, Stone and Galifianakis are the best appetizers the viewer could get before witnessing Keaton’s terrific performance. Yes Edward Norton shines on the camera as a rival and as another egocentric dude (because having one egocentric guy isn’t enough). When Norton and Keaton are on the screen, stepping the same stage, it’s like a huge fight for the biggest ego with an unclear result. Michael Keaton’s performance is, just like I’ve already said, somehow special and deserves to be praised because Riggan is not an easy character to play. He is complex and the way he sees the world changes with the story’s course. He’s a sad and defeated man but at the same time he wants to fight with everything he has to fulfill the dream of his life. Riggan lives in his tiny bubble unaware of how the world has changed and his moments of craziness are what help him see who he really his. Riggan is a complex character and a huge challenge for any actor and I must say I think that Keaton was the best possible choice for this role.
Birdman’s plot is another thing that amazed me a lot… Instead of feeding the viewer with something emotional (suitable for the Awards’ season), Iñárritu gives a vision of success by telling how success, glory and fame matter in an actor’s life. Because while one sees a man doing the best he can to reach the top, he is confronted to the sad reality that in the end being recognized is not what matters the most. And so, Birdman turns into some sort of life lesson for a guy who just wanted to be remembered as an amazing actor, even if his road to success could mean to fight against his beliefs. Birdman is a face-off between generations, a vision of how twisted and mean show biz can be and a look on how ignorance affects our life choices.
With amazing drum solos and a different yet amusing editing (the one-camera-no-cut editing idea was compelling) Birdman plays an interesting role among 2014’s best movies. It represents show biz behind the cameras and the ignorance of a man in his journey to glory and prestige… Birdman represents the ignorance of a nowadays audience in accepting popularity as the best thing ever instead of achieving success by hard and good work. Birdman is funny, not in the sense of a comedy but in the sense of great dialogues and amusing scenes that are amazing to watch and at the same time is like a metaphor for the days we’re living. Brave, irreverent, stylish and interesting, Birdman is a clear victory for Iñárritu… In one word… Brilliant!