ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Birdman (2014)

Updated on May 25, 2015

The Poster

A Review by: Jeff Turner

Dir: Alejandro G. Inarritu

Written by: Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo.

Produced by: New Regency Pictures, Wordview Entertainment, Le Grisbi Productions, M Prods, TSG Entertainment (In Association With)

Starring: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifinakis, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan.

BIRDMAN is a film that moviegoers will remember long after 2014 has come to a close. The movie is hilarious, piercing, smart, and wonderfully surreal. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has made good movies in the past, but this is undeniably his best.

Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton) was famous once. He used to play the superhero Birdman, but his fame has faded and now he is trying to bring himself back into the limelight. He is trying to mount a play that he is writing, starring and directing. Everything that can go wrong is. One of his actors gets hit on the head and incapacitated. He is replaced by Mike Shiner (Edward Norton), an arrogant, difficult actor who threatens to impede his project.

Among some more of his obstacles include a caricature of the modern critic who says that she’s going to sink his play, his daughter (Emma Stone), who just got out of his rehab, and several social media incidences, including a situation where he gets locked out of the theater and has to walk through Times Square in his underwear.

BIRDMAN is a film about its actors. The other aspects of the picture work as well but without the acting the movie would collapse upon itself. I’ve always loved Michael Keaton, whether its his work in movies like JACKIE BROWN or his turn in the Tim Burton BATMAN films he has a certain presence that you can’t get from any other actor. He is his own performer. For a while I thought the character was written so that Keaton was playing himself but he has said that Riggan, out of all the characters he has played, is the farthest removed from himself. I’ll take his word for it.

Regardless whether or not he’s playing himself he is magnificent, conveying the perfect levels of desperation and insanity to display the place his character is in right now. Riggan might think he’s a mediocre actor, but Keaton certainly isn’t. A comeback would be absolutely wonderful, because there really is only one Michael Keaton.

The supporting cast is ripe as well. Emma Stone gives her best performance thus far, she is able to add the certain sting that her characters lines require. This is by far her angriest role, and the first I’ve seen of hers that allowed for serious exploration of the character. Stone is more than up to the task.

Ed Norton is an actor who has always been great at playing unlikable, and gives a comedic turn here that warrants serious consideration. Amy Ryan and Naomi Watts are good, albeit underutilized as Riggan’s ex-wife and the female lead of Riggan’s play. A turn that surprised me though, was Zach Galifinakis as Riggan’s agent. Galifinakis is hysterical here, and finally has decided to shed his character from THE HANGOVER. His comedic timing is more downplayed, more subtle, but no less effective.

Noteworthy also, are the excellent, Oscar worthy cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki and the equally superb editing by Douglas Criss and Stephen Mirrione. Innaritu’s direction mixed with these aspects make BIRDMAN look as though it was one take. It isn’t, but while watching the film the editing, direction, and cinematography make it feel seamless.

BIRDMAN is one of the best films of 2014. It reminds me of one of the great black comedies of the 60’s and 70’s. It you haven’t seen it yet it is strongly recommended that you do so. This is a film that will be around for a long time, and hopefully Keaton will be back in the limelight.

★★★★

Suggestion: See it

The Trailer

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)