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Archive for the ‘Birdman’ Category

Birdman

I missed Michael Keaton as a leading man for a number of years on the big screen. He decided to just disappear and take some time off, doing mostly TV and voiceover work for films.  He made his way back this year in Robocop, Need For Speed, and here in Birdman (perhaps his best role to date).

Keaton stars as Riggan, a fading A-list actor who is acting and directing in a Broadway play based on a Raymond Carver story.  Riggan is not considered a “true” actor by his peers or by critics.  He’s most well known for his role in the superhero hit series Birdman.  This was hardly high brow acting.

There was a reason he started acting so long ago though, and it wasn’t because he wanted to become a big time movie star.  He had passion for the stage.  He felt something while he acted up there, and that’s what he’s trying to get back to.  He’s willing to sacrifice everything he has in order to make this play a success.

As I said I’ve always been a fan of Michael Keaton but he outdoes himself here.  This is a truly transformative role for him.  As the very first Batman I’m sure he found some similarities in this role from his real life, and it helps to see that connection in him throughout the course of the film.

Director Alejandro Inarritu does a few things here that make the film mesmerizing.  First of all he pulls a Robert Altman and really makes the film about the ensemble cast as well as Keaton.  There are strong performances all around from Ed Norton, Emma Stone and Zach Galifianakis.  He also shoots the film in single hand cam.  The result is this swirling claustrophobic film that keeps you bouncing around from character to character as they expertly whip off dialogue, and Keaton is the pinball in between them.

It seems all is doomed for Riggan throughout the course of the film.  This play is set to be a disaster, and play critics have already said they are going to doom his play for who he is, and what he represents.  He’s haunted by the voices of his Birdman character, living in its shadow in the process.  It’s how Riggan gets from point A to point B that makes Birdman a near masterpiece.

Grade: A+