Saturday, October 25, 2014

MIchael Keaton's Blistering Performance in Birdman May Net Nom

Birdman – movie review by Anne Brodie


Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Written by Alejandro González Iñárritu et al
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu
Starring: Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton and Naomi Watts
Rating: 4/5
Michael Keaton delivers a ferocious, Oscar worthy performance in Birdman. And that in itself is a bit of a joke because that’s what his character Riggan desperately wants. Where has Keaton been of late? Exactly. In smaller roles, TV movies, that kind of thing, a comedown from the heady, propped up days of Batman.  Riggan, himself an action hero in a comic book blockbuster called Birdman, is washed up, but looking to redeem himself in a bold theatrical adaptation of a Raymond Chandler short story.   It’s the anti-action hero move to make, the indie artist, miles away from all that. Twice.
As opening night approaches, however, the strain of being who and what he is, is becoming unbearable.  The possibility for failure is real because he’s in some sort of altered state, and he’s expecting too much.  While he can’t expect the world to change with an intimate theatrical performance, he’s willing to try.  His family life is a mess, and his daughter (Stone) hangs around doing backstage odd jobs to keep an eye on him.  She sees how the prospect of the play is undoing him and he’s drinking heavily.  She doesn’t spare the jabs to his heart though.
Iñárritu’s surreal sojourn into Riggan head swings wildly between hallucinations and violence to visionary moments as he relives superhero glory by swooping over Manhattan, tossing buses around like dominoes and setting off explosions with his finger. It’s tantalizing, and we want his imaginings to be real, like when the crowds cheer or when he levitates while mediating, but of course, it’s a mind beside itself we’re seeing. 

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