Sunday, November 2, 2014

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Movie Name: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Year of Release: 2014
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Stars:Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan, Lindsay Duncan, Merritt Wever, Jeremy Shamos
Genre: Drama/Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 9

Following the fantastic and underrated "Biutiful", director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is back with a film that is a complete change of tone from his previous directorial efforts. "Birdman" follows the story of Riggan Thompson, a once well known Hollywood actor, who is planning a comeback, through the direction and staging of a play on Broadway. The play is going through previews, and these have been met with quite a few challenges. Riggan is at odds with his daughter who's also his assistant (and recently out of rehab), he's been romantically involved with one of his co-stars (who may be pregnant), and a recently joined cast member is an arrogant and ego-centric diva (but very talented). On top of all this Riggan is battling self-doubt, and the voice of his former alter-ego, "Birdman", who is urging him to quit all and go back to Hollywood and to the franchise that made him such a hot commodity 20 years ago.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has made a career of tackling multiple story points, with characters whose lives and dramatic choices, make all of them somehow connected with each other. This has been the case of "Amores Perros", "21 Grams" and "Babel". However "Birdman" is a change of tone for his work - the film walks two parallel paths: on one hand is a satire towards Hollywood, and how there's a need to dumb down every film that is released, till the vestige of art is completely removed from the concept of film in general, and on the other hand, it's a quest for a man, and an artist, to find his true self, to find his inner voice and regain his dignity. The film beautifully achieves this thanks to a remarkable screenplay, direction, cinematography (from Emmanuel Lubezki), and cast that truly shines and elevates this material. Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts are remarkable, and the percussion that serves as soundtrack, truly gives the film the quality of a raw nerve that is has for most of its running time. A truly remarkable film worth watching!