I was expecting “Birdman or (The unexpected virtue of ignorance)” to be a blow up acting lesson, but it really surprised me with its completeness and universal message…
Alejandro González Iñárritu really did it well. He is a proven and delightful author and director already, but this movie can really bring an Oscar to Michael Keaton.
But let’s start with the atmosphere. The set is New York – WOW! I am really impressed how they showed us The Big Apple’s artistic district. The camera work is incredible – long shots, beautifully transferring from one scene to another. The moving of the camera is flawless and alive. The viewer really feels the vibrant life of the main characters. And the music is very clever and fitting. Especially the rhythm and the pacing of the action are exact and provoke our emotional reaction almost every time. The whole setting and scenery is creative and true to the Broadway style life.
I must say that the main character Riggan (Michael Keaton) and Mike (Edward Norton) play almost perfect embodiments of how the modern actor’s behavior. This encyclopedia of decision making and emotionally hazard behavior is tempting the viewer to feel empathy for them. I completely enjoyed their acting and felt that after all the American acting school is not behind the European at all. Hollywood may produce tons of bullsh*t, but Fox Searchlight has proven again its record of good production choices. And the acts in this film are really classical in a way. The falling out of glory struggling Riggan is investing his career and sanity into the play What “We Talk About When We Talk About Love”. And we can feel the thickness of tension which is building up on his head. The reference to Keaton’s actual career is evident, so we feel true empathy to the main character in Birdman. His alter ego – the Birdman is constantly reminding us of the Ego of every actor who has received appreciation, but is craving for more. And Norton’s character Mike is truly an expected surprise representing the actors’ boldness and ingenuity. The supporting cast – Zach Galifianakis (just wow!), Naomi Watts (the usual delved into character personality), Emma Stone and Andrea Riseborough add to the constellation of stars shining on the stage and on the screen. I must say – with such a cast a good director such as Iñárritu has done marvels of wonder!
Maybe I am too exuberant in my rants about this film, but I feel that we’re witnessing really a piece which is close to perfection. I really enjoyed it very much and the true reason for that is the script. The story’s both particular and general view for modern acting and the current condition of the cinematic industry have really impressed me. Every line is on spot, the ideas are not new, but are presented very fresh. One can only reflect upon the true nature and signification of the theater, cinema and acting as a profession and way of life. Yes, way of life. Because after all, depending on the situation, we all tend to act and react. All humans are actors in a way. And as William Shakespeare has put it eloquently:
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”