Review: Birdman

A thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing.

Rating: Great, 8 of 10


This is the story of an actor who became famous for playing a specific role. Michael Keaton plays Riggan Thompson, the actor who played a superhero character called Birdman in the 90s and is now – decades later – working hard on his career, especially as an actor in a Broadway Show based on the Raymond Carver Story “What we talk when we talk about love”. The story starts with him sitting in midair, talking to himself – and believe me this is not the strangest thing you may see in this movie.

During the story we meet his daughter, some colleagues and loved ones from his past. Each person, played by actors like Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts and Zach Galifianakis get some fine moments within in this story, some involve Drama, Love, Betrayal and Letdown – they play right in the cards of the story of the main character and his Self-Doubt, his Misery and all his Fears.

Sam: Truth or dare?
Mike Shiner: Truth.
Sam: That’s boring.
Mike Shiner: Truth is always more interesting.

Apart from the script and the actors the movie – due to the camera technique that was used – often gives the audience the feeling that it was shot in one continuous take. I got that feeling especially when Michael Keaton and Edward Norton were having a conversation on the street. The style reminded me a bit on Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope, a movie that is famous for being shot in only ten takes. It gives this movie a quite authentic and very atmospheric feeling.

Young Birdman: It’s a beautiful day. Forget about the Times… everyone else has. Come on. Stand up! So you’re not a great actor. Who cares? You’re much more than that. You tower over these other theater douchebags. You’re a movie star, man! You’re a global force! Don’t you get it? You spent your life building a bank account and a reputation… and you blew ’em both. Good for you. Fuck it. We’ll make a comeback. They’re waiting for something huge. Well, give it to them. Shave off that pathetic goatee. Get some surgery! Sixty’s the new thirty, motherfucker. You’re the original. You paved the way for these other clowns. Give the people what they want… old-fashioned apocalyptic porn. Birdman: The Phoenix Rises. Pimple-faced gamers creaming in their pants. A billion worldwide, guaranteed. You are larger than life, man. You save people from their boring, miserable lives. You make them jump, laugh, shit their pants. All you have to do is…
[Riggan snaps fingers, and explosions occur, shooting starts, soldiers get shot, choppers fly and shoot, one gets shot down]
Young Birdman: That’s what I’m talking about. Bones rattling! Big, loud, fast! Look at these people, at their eyes… they’re sparkling. They love this shit. They love blood. They love action. Not this talky, depressing, philosophical bullshit.
[Birdman shoots laser in giant mechanical bird above the building, it screeches]
Young Birdman: Yes. And the next time you screech…
[Riggan screeches]
Young Birdman: … it’ll explode into millions of eardrums. You’ll glimmer on thousands of screens around the globe. Another blockbuster. You are a god.
[Riggan starts flying]
Young Birdman: See? There you go, you motherfucker. Gravity doesn’t even apply to you. Wait till you see the faces of those who thought we were finished. Listen to me. Let’s go back one more time and show them what we’re capable of. We have to end it on our own terms… with a grand gesture. Flames. Sacrifice. Icarus. You can do it. You hear me? You are… Birdman!

In the end I ask you to give the soundtrack a try, before I saw the movie a friend recommended to listen to the soundtrack. I listened to some and it may seem strange because they are played by one drummer but it sounds great and it gives the movie a very special feeling, it’s very own atmosphere. It works amazingly well during the movie!

So, all the respect and praises the movie got so far are well earned.

Riggan: [to Birdman] Bye-bye. And fuck you.


IMDB – Birdman (2014)

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