Monday, February 2, 2015

Birdman

Starring: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Running Time: 1 hour, 59 minutes

Rating: R

Finally, this movie was re-released into the theatres. I had been dying to see what all the hype was about. After a wildly erratic 2 hours, I decided I may have set the bar too high. This somewhat autobiographical film (for Keaton) is worth seeing once, but for me, that was plenty. The all-star cast is on point - Ed, Naomi and Zach are sensational outstanding support - but the star of the show is clearly Keaton, who portrays has-been action star Riggan Thomson. The film focuses on a play he has written, directed and starred in to secure his "comeback," though at the end, we're left with very little closure as to whether he "came back" or really went anywhere. My fear of birds also didn't make this easy to enjoy.

Birds. Just, no.
Complaints aside, I couldn't have been more in love with the setting: a Broadway theatre in NYC. Riggan's play is in its final nights of previews, and if one star isn't dropping out, one is freaking out, and one is even experimenting with being a lesbian. I imagine the writers decided every "good" film should have some girl-on-girl action, though it was literally just thrown in for shock value. (I'm sure every male in the audience would disagree with me.) We're first introduced to Riggan's mental instability when he admits that just from using his mind, he made a light fall on one of the less-talented actors, so that he would be forced to replace him. Admissions like these coupled with conversations he has with his Birdman identity reveal that Riggan is in fact quite not well.

Ed Norton always gives 110%, and as method actor Mike, he is no exception here. His constant attention to Riggan's daughter Sam (Emma Stone) and her "amazing" ass did wear on me; she's clearly 98 pounds in this film. Naomi Watts and Zach Galifianakis break from their traditional roles and shine as a "I finally made it to Broadway!" starlet and Riggan's straight-faced, no jokes attorney, respectively.

One of the more genuine and powerful scenes is between Riggan and a theatre critic, Tabitha Dickinson. These 5 minutes, along with Riggan's heart-to-heart with ex-wife Sylvia (Amy Ryan) will secure him the Oscar (though it shouldn't be so political! Redmayne for the win!) The second half of the film is far more fantastical than the first - something that I didn't see coming in quite this amount. Riggan's underwear sprint through Times Square is likely to be one of the more memorable scenes from the movie. Unfortunately, the film didn't make a lasting impression on me.

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