Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)


Review by Vladi

♪Bam da bam boom boom bam tsss tsss, bada bam bam bam ba ta ta ta tsss tsss tss!♪

Starts the movie’s percussion soundtrack with some baller typography reminding us that el maestro de film is here to give us another masterpiece. I am, of course, talking about none other than Alejandro González Iñárritu.

Iñárritu needs little introduction as he is considered one of the most talented and creative directors alive. For those of you who have been living under a rock, however, I am more than happy to have the honors.

Iñárritu is a Mexican director who first gained critical acclaim with his film 21 Grams (2003). The film was praised for its non-conventional narrative, great performances, and cinematography style. The man proved to be more than a one time wonder when he struck gold with his consequent films, Babel (2006), and Biutiful (2010). His stories are always haunting, and presented in an array of visually stylish manners. He has some of the most notable cinematography of the 21st century, and his storytelling is of the premier class. Without further kiss-ass, we delve into Birdman (2014).

We have Michael Keaton playing a washed up Hollywood actor. His family and his life are in shambles, and we follow him (literally) as he tries to hold it all together. He is putting on a Broadway play, his last ditch attempt to prove to the world and himself that he is more than a washed up has-been, and is in fact an artist. Keaton absolutely shines in this role, he does it perfectly. This film’s a black comedy, so you get a nice mix of drama and humour. Keaton’s performances are all that they need to be in each of these extremes, and for that, all I can do is tip the hat.

We also have Edward Norton poking fun at himself with the role of Mike, the drama queen actor. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Edward Norton is notoriously known for being very difficult to work with, and having constant struggles with directors/writers for creative control. It’s nice to see that he can see the humour in the situation, and he plays a very hilarious clown. But as most things in this movie, he has that extra dimension. He’s the self-centered asshole that everyone can easily hate, but he’s also the most honest and vulnerable self-centered asshole.

Most of the characters in this movie have these little nuances which make them so much more human than your average side-role. Even Emma Stone pulls off a good little performance as Keaton’s estranged daughter. She’s recovering from a drug addiction, and her relationship with her father’s anything but perfect. Yet, as she tries to make sense and peace with this world she’s in, she gives us some very touching performances.

Now, let’s talk STYLE!

For starters, the movie’s all done in one continuous shot.

But Mr. Movie Guywhat does that mean?

Excellent question, young time waster. What I mean by this is that the camera never cuts throughout the whole film. You follow Keaton into a room, it follows Keaton out of a room. When he looks to someone else, the camera turns with him. If the next scene’s about that person, the camera follows them. You never get a cut, and then fade to another location. That is not to say that they shot the whole film in one 90 minute go, there are points, obviously, where they “cheated” to bring the shots together. But none the less, you have a whole 90 minute narrative told with one continuous shot, and even if you aren’t a cinephile, you’ll probably appreciate this method of storytelling. It takes a lot of effort and creativity, and it’s a visual feast.

The movie’s soundtrack is also something that stands out SO MUCH. Antonio Sánchez did the score for this film and it is almost ENTIRELY drumming. There are a few scenes in the movie where we get some full-orchestra music, but for the vast part of this movie, all the musical cues and tempos are set by a drummer. And if you’re thinking “how”, I don’t know, just ask Antonio Sánchez. His score fits this movie like a shoe, and it’s amazing to see just how much you can do with one drum kit. It’s definitely refreshing from the over saturated market of Hans Zimmer copycats, where a person tying their shoe deserves a full brass ensemble.

This movie will make you laugh, this movie will ask you some questions, and this movie will hit you with some strong drama, and biutiful (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!) moments. Easily the best movie of the year by far, I can only recommend it to anyone who appreciates a good movie. It’s not too artsy fartsy in the sense that an average movie goer can’t appreciate it. If you’re looking for tits and explosions, this might not be the film for you. And if you are, sorry you read all this for just a “FUCK YOU”. But to anyone else who enjoys some creativity, a laugh, and a good story, go see this movie! NOW! Like now NOW. Google the showtimes in theaters near you and GOOOOOO!

♪Bam da bam boom boom bam tsss tsss, bada bam bam bam ba ta ta ta tsss tsss tss!♪

2 thoughts on “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

  1. Such a fun movie. But when it decides to slow things down and pay attention to the characters, it still works pretty well and is effective. Totally like it needed to be. Good review.


    1. Yeah man, this movie blew my mind. I watched it on the same day as Interstellar, so it was a double whammy of awesome. It was so enjoyable to watch some fresh cinema. Thank you kindly for your words 🙂


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