Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Canada, USA 2014 – 119min.
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Birdman tells the story of Riggan Thompson, an actor who found blockbuster fame as a superhero in the “Birdman” trilogy. But the years go by and Riggan turns down Birdman 4 in hopes of landing a project in which he can finally prove his acting talent. He finally decides to take matters into his own hands with the Broadway stage adaptation of a Raymond Carver novel. Acting, directing and producing, Riggan must face his worst demons, his nastiest critics, the egos of his onstage colleagues and the doubts of his family.
Birdman is a rare thing. Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu needs no introduction, having wowed both critics and audiences with Biutiful and Babel. This time, he present a unique movie about coming back from a role that impacted several generations, starring the excellent Michael Keaton. What may seem like easy casting – given that Keaton played Batman for Tim Burton in 1989 before moving on to lesser-known projects – doesn’t take Keaton’s real talent into consideration (Need for Speed, Robocop, Spotlight). This movie merely shines a bright light on it.
Imagined as a two-hour sequence shot, the movie has Riggan’s alter ego Birdman materialize with him in scenes where the actor battles his nemesis – a brilliant play on illusion versus reality. A solid supporting cast includes Edward Norton as a big but neurotic star, Naomi Watts as an actress new to the stage, Emma Stone as Riggan’s toxic daughter and Zach Galifianakis as his terrible agent. Already highly acclaimed and the winner of numerous awards, Birdman won the Oscar for best movie.