Julian's Judgment: Birdman

The Movie Summary:

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, stars Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone and a few other people in an ensemble cast which follows Keaton's character Riggan Thomson as he tries to find relevancy as a writer/director/actor on Broadway after being washed up action star for an untold number of years.

Birdman constantly reminds Thomson he can achieve that fame once again through one easy trick, but he's set out to prove his vivid hallucinations wrong with dramatic flair and hilarious wit.

The Judgment:

The whole movie has tight acting, direction, staging, editing and narrative. Some of the actors seem to play an exaggerated version of themselves, from Keaton who hasn't had a major role since Batman playing a character trying to be relevant once again, to Norton who's an actor's actor, being a belligerent hard nose prick to his supporting cast members. These two are especially caricatures of the typical character actors you expect to see in a play/film on Broadway - always plotting their respective resurgences to obtain an importance they no longer possess. 

Very few films turn the cinema experience itself into a provocative character, but Birdman does so seamlessly, especially aided by its micro-editing and long and intense tracking shots.

The Ensemble:

The supporting actors are great as well - Emma Stone and Zack Giraffe play their bit roles perfectly and with enough depth and wit that you they contribute to the story. All the characters feel relevant and important to the overall story, including the the ambient jazz drummer that appears randomly throughout the film - a rare quality for an ensemble cast.

The "negatives"

If you're the few viewers who do not get the film, just remember that its by and large a dark comedy, and should be viewed through a sardonic lens - otherwise you'll do yourself a disservice by not understanding what's going on, or why what they're saying makes perfect sense while being completely cutting and bitter about the audience and the industry at large.

Last Words:

Like Whiplash, I consider Birdman an outstanding piece of cinema worthy of future viewing. Re-watching, of course, to appreciate the fantastic crew and cast that was capable of adding the sum of its parts to unity.

Grade: A


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