I remember having a discussion with someone about certain Oscar movies that were coming out. I mentioned Birdman which they admitted they hadn’t heard of. They looked the film up online, saw the image of Keaton in the Bidrman costume and said, “Oh, is this a superhero film?” They automatically assumed that the film was one of those big budgeted action films that keep making money. How come everybody sees those movies? Is this what Hollywood has become? A monopoly that churns out explosion-filled flicks because people don’t want to see reality (or God forbid, even ART) in a motion picture? And is this a good thing or a bad thing?
All of these questions and more are brought up in Birdman, which is one of those movies that works from every conceivable angle. The screenplay offers us a brilliant look into both Hollywood and Broadway, how they relate to one another, and how both industries work. The film’s ‘continuous shot’ technique is done brilliantly, and you get the feeling that it wouldn’t have worked as well if it were for any other movie. The story and the storytelling compliment each other beautifully, which is the trademark of any masterpiece.
It’s also worth noting that the actors have to perform flawlessly for long periods of time. Every single actor in this movie is at the top of their game here, particularly Michael Keaton and Edward Norton. It gets to the point where you hardly even realize that you’re looking at performances, just people. Don’t be surprised if this wins the SAG Ensemble award.
The directing in this film is flat-out superb. You really get the feeling that you’re seeing the world from the eyes of a man who may not be all there. Riggan Thomson is a character that you want to succeed, but after a while you start to wonder what success truly means for him – and what the consequences are.
I know that Awards Season is just beginning, but when we’re at the end of it all, when the envelope for Best Picture is opened, If there’s a God above, then Birdman will be what’s written in that envelope. It is everything a great motion picture should be – the reason that the Academy Awards exist. There’s not much else for me to say except SEE IT. Trust me, you have no idea what you’re in for.