What’s it About?
A washed-up actor, who once played an iconic superhero, battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career and himself in the days leading up to the opening of his Broadway play.
“Birdman: Or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance”
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (as Alejandro G. Iñárritu)
6 out of 10
A film full of such flawed characters really should add up to more than “Birdman,” from Mexican director and writer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel), provides. Michael Keaton (Batman, Beetlejuice), Edward Norton (American History X, Fight Club), and Emma Stone (Amazing Spider-man) deliver Grade A performances across the board and elevate, what I believe, is a mediocre script to solid respectability. That’s not to say that “Birdman” isn’t a great achievement.
It contains a technical prowess rarely seen, these days, on the big screen. The cinematography is simpky astounding. Director of Photography Emmanuel Lubezki (Sleepy Hollow, Gravity) deserved his Oscar. His camera knows no bounds. It swoops in and out of windows, through narrow and dank hallways, and adds a sense of color inside the darkness that permeates through the entire movie. It’s a gorgeous film to look at.
So, why such a mediocre number for a film that I admire so deeply on a technical level? Well, other films that give the audience a visual experience do that without the interplay that Birdman wastes its time on. These are deeply flawed characters but I never found any of them all that interesting.
For a group of people, in this case actors, that the American public follows so closely, they have almost nothing to say. Norton’s character is one dimensional and self-serving, Keaton is confused about who he is, and Watson is consistently focused on nothing. In other words, it never hooked me into its world. That really is a shame too because the world is painted so beautifully.
The buzz will undoubtedly lead many to see “Birdman” no matter what my review says. I certainly would never steer anyone away from seeing such a polished film but I have to caution anyone whose expectations have risen since Oscar night. You will probably feel a bit let down.