Birdman — Movie Review #JPMN

This black comedy drama film co-written, produced
and directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu grossed more than $70 million following its
theatrical release in October of 2014. The $18-million dollar production stars Michael
Keaton as a washed up superhero actor who deals with family, friends, and his ego in
the days leading up to a career-defining Broadway play. Portraying an individual with many parallels
to his own career, Keaton delivers a tremendous amount of depth and personality into his role;
bouncing from nervous doubt to fierce confidence. His Best Actor nod is incredibly well deserved,
and marks a real comeback for him personally. He defends his self-produced play by declaring,
“Listen to me. I’m trying to do something important.” His co-stars Emma Stone and Edward
Norton also received nominations: and it’s this core trio that imbue the screenplay’s
quick-witted and believable dialogue. Watching these talented actors play off each other
is both captivating and emotional. The R-rated script is a work
of art that actors dream of one day performing. Each player is given the opportunity to sink
their teeth into the contentious banter and verbose monologues. When Norton sports a surprise
erection during a rehearsal performance, Keaton does his best to stick to his script, but
it’s these moments of improvisation in the play within a play that are so memorable.
Later, when Keaton locks himself out of the theater wearing only his underwear, he must
march through Times Square, completely humiliated just to hit his cue. The amusing scene sets
the stage for an even more powerful climax. But where this picture goes in the fascinating
third act is best left unspoiled. “Birdman” is impressively filmed via one incredible
camera move that lasts for mostly all of the 119-minute runtime. There are obviously edits
hidden throughout, but this illusion of a single, unbroken steady-cam shot that effortlessly
glides from setup to setup is mesmerizing to watch unfold. Not since Alfred Hitchcock’s
“Rope” have I seen something so brazenly ambitious. The conventions of the mechanism are also
used to momentarily disorient the viewer, as the narrative jumps forward in time, even
though the physical camera hasn’t. After I got over the initial wonder of, “how are they
even doing this?” – the technique became unobtrusive, allowing me to focus on the magnificent performances
of the cast, who all revel in the opportunity to shout lines at each other in these drawn-out
two-shots. The infrequently used score from Antonio Sánchez relies solely on loud drum
beats that signal a rise in tension. With nine nominations, including “Best Picture”,
directing, screenplay, and cinematography – this is one Oscar contender everyone ought
to see at least once. “Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance)”
has sharp writing, career-defining performances, and an enthralling visual style. Here now
are a few of your reviews. Despite its slightly esoteric qualities, praise
was unanimous in regards to “Birdman’s” cinematography and acting – we both rated this an AMAZING.

11 thoughts on “Birdman — Movie Review #JPMN

  1. I watched this movie last night, All I can say is its a film. I loved the camera work and the acting, though I find it impossible to accurately describe how I felt about the movie. I can't think of much I even disliked. I'm not sure when I will watch it again but when I do hopefully I can describe how I felt about it better.

  2. You know what's more impressive than various shots blended together to look like one take (which is impressive)?
    A movie (Russian Ark) made of a REAL 90 minute long take

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