Birdman: Film Review – Sheer brilliance

Ask yourself this: When was the last time a movie left you perpetually spellbound? Let me guess, not in the longest time. With tons of lackluster movies releasing every year, Birdman is a treat to discerning eyes.

Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is a spectacular effort by Alejandro González Iñárritu. The film successfully treads the line between real and imaginary to leave you mesmerized. Taking your eyes off the screen for even a second of this movie’s brisk runtime of 119 minutes is a sin. Michael Keaton is Riggan Thomson, a washed out actor, who once played a comic book hero known as Birdman. But now, he wants to revive his career by putting up a play on Broadway. As the film builds up to its fantastic finale, Riggan struggles with his inner demons, while also trying to manage the eccentric cast.

Birdman scores in every single department, starting with its stellar camera work. Shot for most parts in and around St. James Theatre in New York, DOP Emmanuel Lubezki beautifully captures what goes on behind the scenes of an actual Broadway play. The striking drum solo during many scenes gives the film a fresh feel. The awesome moments when Riggan reminisces about his hay days have so much depth, that you both hate and love the titular character.

Now a movie with a cast as talented as this certainly deserves all the accolades. Everyone is in top form here, be it Emma Stone who plays Riggan’s troubled daughter/assistant or Naomi Watts‘ panicky Lesley. Zach Galifianakis and Andrea Riseborough are also lovely in their roles. Edward Norton‘s Mike is a perfectionist who inadvertently adds to Riggan’s unending woes. The actor is in top form and gives a realistic performance throughout. But the real star of this film is Michael Keaton. It is safe to say that he was born to play this role, considering how he once played a famous superhero himself. He is splendid in every scene, and captures the ego and angst of Riggan Thomson succinctly.

Why should you watch this film?

Birdman is an impeccable film. It boasts earnest performances by its esteemed cast members and also has a tight storyline. Iñárritu knows what he wants to say and does exactly that. The underlying message of vanity and the perils of fame also resound in the script, and stay with you even as the credits roll. It is perhaps the best film of 2014 and deserves to be watched.

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