Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)
Directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr., Armando Bo
Starring: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough
Riggan Thomson’s (Keaton) best years seem to be behind him. The Hollywood star was once the face of the iconic hero, Birdman. Now, in an attempt to regain his confidence and fix the wrongs in his life, he’s trying his hand as a writer, director, and star of his own Broadway play.
This movie has earned recognition from critics around the world. Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone (The Last Elvis), Alexander Dinelaris Jr. (The One Percent), and Armando Bo (Biutiful) combined to write the screenplay. The film was also directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu (21 Grams). The cast includes so many wonderful actors, beginning with Michael Keaton (Jackie Brown), Edward Norton (Moonrise Kingdom), and Emma Stone (The Help). Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), Naomi Watts (St. Vincent), and Andrea Riseborough (Happy-Go-Lucky) also star in this one. This film has been nominated for nine Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director.
This story is a unique personal drama built with a hint of comedy and fantasy. The team of writers managed to create something that’s incredibly unique and captivating. The development of every character shows a clear attention to detail. Each of the major characters is dealing with their own issues, creating great fireworks throughout the film. These fireworks include nicely written action and wonderful dialogue. The film also takes some interesting creative risks that pay off in bringing the more fantastic moments of the film to life. The comedic aspects of the film are all built into the story nicely. Instead of changing tones, the film seems to adjust just enough to allow for the mood of each scene to take over. Overall, this is one of the more interesting stories of 2014. It also earned the writers an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
The acting featured in this movie is awesome. Michael Keaton gives a great performance, perhaps the best of his career. His role calls for an emotional range that’s played out both verbally and physically. He did an awesome job bringing the whole story to life through his leading role. This role also earned Keaton Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Keaton is joined by some incredibly talented actors in this one. Edward Norton brings out the best and worst aspects of his character, and it pays off. Throughout the movie he has great chemistry with Keaton and the rest of the cast. His intensity matches Keaton’s throughout the film, and it earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination. Emma Stone surprised me with the emotional performance she gave in this one. She does a nice job working with one of the more dramatic roles in the film. She was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress her work in this film.
Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts, and Andrea Riseborough are also great additions to this film. Galifianakis gives a semi-serious performance that is surprising and refreshing based on his previous hits. Naomi Watts also does great work with her role in this one. She has great chemistry with the other actors and shows off her range as well. Riseborough is also great in this one, and helps to bring the story to life. Overall, the cast seemed to have great chemistry that understood the themes of the film and brought them out nicely.
The visuals in this film are incredible. Emmanuel Lubezki uses his bag of tricks to create a uniquely entertaining movie that has to be seen to understand. This innovative work earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography. The editing in this one is also wonderfully done, creating a seamless experience. Visuals weren’t the only success in this one. The film also earned nominations for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. In addition, the movie features a unique score that is played with visually throughout the movie. (Think diegetic and non-diegetic sound.)
This is a unique cinema experience that I think most moviegoers will enjoy. Fans of Keaton, Norton, Stone, or the rest of the cast should definitely check this one out. This movie is unlike any in recent history, so be prepared for some surprises. This is a good recommendation for fans of drama and fantasy as well. I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.
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Good review. The ensemble is great, but it’s Keaton who walks away here with the show. Hopefully this means some Oscar gold.
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Keaton seems like a good bet for Best Actor. It’s a competitive year, but this one should earn a few wins.