30 Jan

Riggan Thomson (played by Michael Keaton) rules … as superhero “Birdman” everyone loves him. His movie franchise draws huge audiences and he dominates the cinema. Now … fifteen years later … Birdman’s long gone and Riggan’s almost forgotten. He’s hard at work getting the finishing touches done to a modern version of the classic Raymond Carver story he’s re-written. Everything’s on the verge of success … if only he could get it all happening at the same time. He’s trying hard to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Sam (by Emma Stone), he’s still friends with Sam’s mother, his ex-wife Sylvia (by Amy Ryan), but their relationship’s fraught – thanks to his erratic behaviour during their marriage. But the production needs a lot of work – his leading lady, Lesley (by Naomi Watts), is getting there, but the leading man was recently replaced after an accident on stage. The last minute stand-in, Mike (by Edward Norton) is already a big name on Broadway, so he should pull some good crowds – trouble is, he’s got a big ego to match, which causes friction with Riggan. Open night is speeding towards the cast and they’re struggling to get the show ready. Riggan starts to freak out and listens to his “internal voice”, even though he doesn’t want to. He worries that he’s never going to regain the fame he once had, nor is he going to mend all the broken relationships he’s left in his wake over the years …

This movie has huge peaks and troughs. In some places it has flashes of utter brilliance – as Riggan Thomson, Michael Keaton is really great. His emotions are palpable, the production gives the audience a close-up look at him and his random superhero tendencies – even today he believes he’s got so much more to offer than he’s ever given to his audience. His heart’s in this play and Keaton gives blood, sweat and tears to the performance just to show that – it’s great. What I had trouble with is the turbulence of the production. As Mike, Edward Norton somehow seems “too much” for the screen – he dominates everything, both physically and spiritually. I usually like his work, but in some scene’s here he’s too much – but in others he’s really fabulous. I found Naomi Watts’ portrayal of Lesley a little too distant, but as Riggan’s daughter, Sam, Emma Stone is really great. It’s a shame that as Annie, the production director, Merritt Wever doesn’t get enough to do – I’d love to have seen more of her here. It’s certainly a unique piece and most definitely earns the accolades afforded to it by the Screen Actors Guild and other awards programs in the 2015 season.The special effects are pretty good, but there are a few patches that really disengaged me. I didn’t enjoy the original musical score which is mainly percussion but I am probably on my own with many of these views. Michael Keaton, Emma Stone and Edward Norton do very well. His work has already won Michael Keaton a Golden Globe for Best Actor and Screenplay; the Screen Actors Guild Awards have given it Best Acting for the entire Cast and it has achieved an AFI Award for Movie of the Year. In the upcoming Academy Award (Oscar) presentations it has nominations for Motion Picture of the Year, Leading Actor (Michael Keaton), Supporting Actor (Edward Norton), Supporting Actress (Emma Stone), Director, Screenplay, Cinematography and Sound Editing. It’s well deserved I’d say. The alternative title for this is “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance”

Made in 2014. Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Uncategorized


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