Ignorance would have been blissfully indulgent if only I had not willingly subjected myself to this quixotic, sophistic expose on the cons of action films and their heroes; the bane of vindictive critics; ageing actors on a downward spiral into moral turpitude, and their drug-addicted progeny. “Unexpected’ trouble bamboozled the viewer in the initial scene: “Riggan Thompson” aka “Birdman” , levitating in the lotus position, conversing with his alter ego “Birdman”; he is directing and starring in a Broadway play based on a short story by Raymond Carver (1938-88), “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” (a subjective premise, never fully addressed); Michael Keaton soars as the telekinetic flight-risk, just craving the archaic respect of his “Birdman”- action- hero days.
When one actor is purposely injured in rehearsal, famed and infamous “Mike Shiner” (pulsating, iconoclastic performance by Edward Norton) turbulently steps in, shatters harmony, injects fire and brimstone into the production; the film flows effortlessly with their confrontations.
“Birdman” opens a myriad of hypothesizes, frustratingly inconclusive: power of celebrity, elusive longevity of notoriety; reference to Icarus, flying arrogantly too close to the sun; Macbeth’s mad soliloquy about the “poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, then is heard no more”, Riggan’s nemesis; antagonism between performer and those who critique; competitive egos, maniacally obliterate familial relationships.
Ultimately, fantastical, whimsical metaphors fizzle; “Birdman”, like Carver’s protagonist just can’t get it right.
My first review disappeared. This was difficult to watch ; painful to see, Yet completely rang true. Michael Keaton, Edward Nortan and Emma Stone all gave Oscar worthy performances about people in this business finding in very different ways their way to remain relevant in such a difficult carer.The surrealism didn’t necessarily blend well with the brutal realism in this film but I liked it. We shall se where it goes….
Excellent, perceptive comments; I am in the minority but they all irritated me with their whiny angst. Obviously not rooting for them or the film as Oscar “worthy”. But then again, I fair the poorest in my contest.