Starring: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis
Director: Alejandro G Inarritu
A remarkable and surreal film about an actor Riggan Thomson (Keaton) trying revive his ailing career by directing and starring in a play in New York. Assisted by his recovering drug abuser daughter (Stone) and foiled by his jealousy of his famous co-star (Norton), the actor must continually remind himself that he used to be somebody (namely the actor who played a famous comic book hero Birdman).
The film flows from scene to scene in such a way that it appears to be all one take, making the film feel kinetic and unyielding, as we never have a break in the tension that a scene break normally gives you. It’s an excellent choice, as the main character is compulsive and intense himself, questioning himself, talking to and also (in the form of his alter ego) answering himself.
Although the film itself is beautiful in it’s flowing shots and imagery, the characters are all self-obsessed, self centred, egotistical and awful. Which is incredibly entertaining to watch! The performances beautifully captured the insecurity and priggish behaviour of the worst kind of actors, and works as a microcosm of the whole of western society, with it’s obsession with social media and image creation, self presentation and being famous.
As the story centres around Riggan, his thoughts about himself become manifest, in that the film shows at times how he is perceiving things, and therefore has some delightfully surreal moments as he is not entirely emotionally stable. The delightfully odd Michael Keaton is in excellent form in this film, using his intense eyes and physicality to great effect, and is perfectly cast, especially given that he himself was once Batman.
See It If: Maybe not one for everyone, but will certainly please those who know any theatre people, or those who like their films a little outside the box. I found it very pleasing.