Review: BIRDMAN OR (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE)

By Renee’ Collins

Rating: 4 (Out of 5 Reels)

A washed-up actor named Riggan (Michael Keaton), who once played an iconic superhero, must overcome his ego and family trouble as he mounts a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim his past glory (IMDB).

To say this movie is different is an understatement.  At its core it is simply about the insecurities of actors who try to make a living playing other people onstage but this film takes things a step further by seemingly moving in and out of Riggan’s mind and by the manner in which it is filmed.  In one breath Riggan is talking to a real person and the next he is interacting with the voice of his alter ego and former superhero film character who continually taunts him about everything going on in his life. 

We also see a rich and diverse supporting character cast who add to the depth of this film.  The most notable characters for me are Sam (Emma Stone), Riggan’s daughter, Jake (Zach Galifianakis), Riggan’s lawyer, Lesley (Naomi Watts) and Mike (Edward Norton) who are leading actors in his play.  Their character portrayals pull the viewer into the world of actors in a Broadway play because they are flawed and insecure just like the rest of us and sometimes much more so. 

The other interesting and different aspect of this film is the manner in which it is filmed.  The shots are exceedingly long and flowing.  Therefore the blocking and actor portrayals had to be well rehearsed because there are not the usual cuts back and forth during any of the dialogue scenes which in most films are used to fix errors in delivering lines or camera moves.

At first the filming style can be off putting, but most not unlike myself will find that it grows on them as the film progresses.  Those looking for something different as well as extremely well-acted and written should check this film out.

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