Entertainment Hive 2017

Birdman

Reviewed by Honey B

Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu Cast: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis Plot: Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance is a black comedy that tells the story of an actor (Michael Keaton) - famous for portraying an iconic superhero - as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself. Verdict: Birdman is one of the most original movies to come out in recent memory. It is an enthralling insight into the creative minds of actors as they walk the fine line between artistic integrity and celebrity.  This edgy flick is the sum of its superb cast who nail every complicated twist and turn in this transformative tome. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's script is made all the more intriguing with the casting of Michael Keaton as a much-loved and successful actor, Riggan, who left Hollywood at the peak of his career after starring in the popular Birdman superhero series. Of course, it's hard not to mirror this with Keaton's own stellar rise to fame as he stepped into the role of Batman only for his career to stall. The film blurs the line between real life and fiction in a very trippy way. After playing the role of Birdman three times, Riggan wants to be known as a "serious'' actor and mounts a comeback by putting on his own Broadway show, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. The movie opens as the actors are rehearsing, but Riggan is consumed by his own self-doubts about the play and its cast. He is haunted by his own past, by Birdman and he is struggling in his relationships with his ex-wife Sylvia (Amy Ryan), his daughter Sam (Emma Stone) who has just returned from rehab and his actress girlfriend Laura (Andrea Riseborough). When a prop knocks out one of the actors a replacement is needed asap and one of the play's actresses, Lesley (Naomi Watts), nominates her in-demand actor boyfriend Mike Shiner (Edward Norton). As a talented thespian, Mike brings his own demons to the stage - Mike believes in realism on stage, which makes for some interesting dress rehearsals. Norton is a wonderful loose cannon in the theatre setting and he and Keaton are a tour de force together. Keaton lays it all on the line here - the insecurities are out, the tormented artist is on show for all to see and it's a heartbreaking lament for critical acknowledgment. Emma Stone is also white hot as Riggan's daughter. The camerawork in this piece is also superb and it's shot in one long sequence - it's as if we are walking beside the actors, in their world. While this movie is one that audiences will be talking about for a long time, it does have its downside in that it is too long and the film cannot sustain the weight of its own ideas. That said, you cannot take your eyes off of the superb ensemble cast nor can you stop thinking about Riggan and his alter-ego Birdman. The movie is simply at its best when it is viewed as a backstage farce. Watch Birdman take flight during the awards season - it's sure to swoop in and take a few.
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