Birdman Riggan Thomson ( Keaton ) used to be a cinema star. An actor who played a comic book superhero in blockbuster films. The Birdman. Now, twenty years later, he is staging a risky, Broadway play and searching for acclaim and validation. His mental stability and personal life are falling to pieces and financial pressures and critical reviews may tip him over the edge. Riggan battes himself, his daughter ( Stone ), his fellow actors ( Norton ) and his 'Birdman' past. Apart from the brilliantly intense central performances from Michael Keaton, Emma Stone and Edward Norton, there are three main elements that really standout for me in 'Birdman'. Firstly, the wonderful, jazz-infused score that 'pops' and 'sizzles' throughout, adding to the freestyle weirdness of the script, sometimes encroaching on the perceived reality. The second is the long, sweeping camera shots that weave in and out of the action, continuous image streams that elegantly follow the story and add to the building insanity. You will struggle to find the joins. The third is the soaring use of
metaphor and reality that keeps the audience guessing as to whether they are watching a story of genius or mental breakdown. There are so many great elements to the film, Emma Stone and Ed Norton are equally brilliant and damaged but, without Michael Keaton (who once played Tim Burton's 'Batman'), the film would have felt much more lightweight, his presence adding a tragic, biographical feel to the story. It is an ambitious, beautiful, thoughtful, provocative film that questions the industry and the pursuit of fame. Directed by Alejandro Inarritu, it will leave you amazed and confused, asking what is real. And that is the aim. Full of wonder. Wonderful.
8.5 out of 10.
Cert 15 ( UK )