Friday, November 7, 2014

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Look up in the sky... it's a bird... it's a plane...It's Michael Keaton portraying a washed up actor who mounts show in an attempt to return to his former glory! If you had not guessed by the previous sentence, Birdman, the most recent film by Babel director Alejandro González Iñárritu follows the story of Riggan, an actor who in his heyday played a superhero known as Birdman. Now over twenty years later, Riggan attempts to mount a play version of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, which he has adapted, directs, and stars in. Keaton's performance is remarkable as a man who just wants to be remembered for something and to matter. His conscience speaks to him in a schizophrenic like manner, berating him and talking down to him, seemingly forcing and pushing him towards failure. 
Riggans character seemingly makes an antagonist in a fellow actor portrayed by Edward Norton, who is in his prime and is everything Riggan wishes to be.

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the film is how it is shot. 95% of the film is made to seem as one continuous shot, jumping ahead in time, changing locations but seemingly never cutting. Though obviously the film was, unlike Russian Ark, not actually filmed as such, though the director is not trying to convince us that it is. The film has moments of magic realism as Riggans visions and discussions are portrayed in such a manner that we are unsure whether they are actually happening or not. 
The films score is almost entirely jazz percussion based, with the lone drummer appearing on screen for fleeting moments as a character walks past. Birdman is currently at Cinemapolis and is not one to miss, being both a cinematic spectacle and powerhouse story.  

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