Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

Director: Alejandro Iñárritu
Starring: Michael Keaton, Zack Galifianakis, Edward Norton

A washed-up actor throws everything he has into a troubled Broadway production.

I usually don't find myself drawn to the sort of films that sweep the Academy, at least not nowadays. Award bait films turn me off. Sometimes there's actually some meat to them, but a lot of them are just pretentious and overblown. Happily, this is one movie that swept the Oscars and manages to be both artsy and entertaining at the same time. I'll admit that I was expecting something else when I heard there was going to be a Birdman movie. Needless to say, it isn't that Birdman. The meta level to the story is rather entertaining, but I'm a sucker for that kind of things. It's part of the reason why I like Galaxy Quest and Tropic Thunder so much.

If you're at all familiar with magical realism, there's certainly an element of that in the movie, which you don't usually see (or at least I don't usually see it). The cinematography is also rather interesting. The camera almost never sits still and when it does, it's not for long. There's this continuous flow from beginning to end that just sweeps you away. Also, the drums that accompany the transitions are really stylish.

As for performances, Michael Keaton is outstanding. I've always liked him well enough as an actor and he really shows off his stuff here. Edward Norton is also highly entertaining as the prima donna ringer brought in to round out the cast of the play. I also liked Emma Stone as Thomson's daughter and the strained relationship they have.

I enjoyed the movie a lot and if you want a stylish take on a dysfunctional life, you should be watching this.

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