Friday, 27 February 2015

Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

A washed-up actor, who once played an iconic superhero, battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career and himself in the days leading up to the opening of his Broadway play.

Birdman is directed by newly Oscar winner Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and stars Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts and Emma Stone. This film deals with a multitude of theme: one existence, one place in real life, how you view your own life, duality, Critics, family life, drinking, special effects and blockbusters.
Firstly, the way the movie was filmed surprised me: the film is made to look as if it's one continuous shot through clever editing techniques, really long takes and some very skilled actors to accomplish that. It feels like the opening shots of Goodfellas but for the entire movie which is a mind-blowing experience and kind of revolutionary. I can't even fathom how a movie can work like that. This aspect of the film makes us feel like we are behind the scene, on set with these people, it feels absolutely real. The score is very jazzy and feels unpredictable which is very similar to the movie itself. Michael Keaton plays Emma's Stone father, they have a difficult relationship. In fact, they all feel like they are pretending in real life and throughout the the movie Keaton character ears the voice of Birdman in his head telling him to do things; he also happens to have some mysterious power of some sort. This movie is WEIRD. Keaton character battle is a little bit like Dumbledore's saying "You do what's right or you do what's easy.". Undeniably every character in this film is dealing with an intense psychological issue of some kind that makes them feel split as they're two halves for one whole. It touches also, on distance, what your place in the world is and what you're here for. The movie is filled with brilliant metaphorical imagery which install thoughts into your brain, explained afterwards through very good film making and excellent acting. I can't say it enough but actors are AMAZING. Michael Keaton pulls off the best performance of his entire career, Edward Norton is the best he's been in years and Emma Stone may be the best she's ever been. 

Birdman approaches blockbuster movies, not in an insulting way, it questions our vision of this industry. However what hold the biggest impact on me is the way this film deals with Critics in general. In a scene Michael Keaton  literally explodes and exposes in a monologue each and every problem film criticism knows nowadays. It's heaven! Indeed, film critics do not talk about film making anymore, they do not talk of a scene structure or shot composition, they are looking for a quote they can put on a DVD cover (yeah DVD because I'm old fashioned). I'm guilty of those things myself but it doesn't make his point less relevant to me. An other scene assault on audience members that don't care about anything but green screen and explosion sequences. I do absolutely love good action movies and some big fun entertainment movies but I also respect Art films that are trying to be just ART: a film that has so much thoughts provoking behind and so much to say about Humanity, relationships and also movie business in our society. It emphasises perfectly the conflict of Hollywood right now: Blockbusters Vs Indie Movies. If you are in a Blockbuster it doesn't mean you're a bad actor as well as if you are in a smaller production it doesn't mean you're a good actor. This is breaking the fourth wall and talking to all of us. Plus, the fact that they reference real Hollywood people such as Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Ryan Gosling or Jeremy Renner. Those references are things we actually know as entertainment, as Hollywood movies and actors. It makes it feel more real, like it is happening in our world.

Overall everyone was great in this film. I felt like I was part of it, I was there, it was unique and original. Birdman is one of those movie you're glad someone made it happened. We really do need more movie like this one! After this movie you are going to notice all the scenes changing and all the jump cuts involved in the editing process of a movie, EVERYTHING. It's going to drive you nuts!

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