Washed-up actor Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) is most famous for playing iconic superhero “Birdman” in a trilogy of films two decades ago.
Tired of being defined by his role in a billion-dollar franchise so long ago, Riggan sets out to direct, produce, and act in a massive stage play – all while enduring a number of pitfalls leading up to opening night, and suffering from delusions (?) that he may actually possess super powers.
What follows from the first moment of Birdman is a massive creative undertaking, with the film edited in such a way that it appears to be one single continuous take. The camera flows through hallways, rooms, stages, and streets, never blinking. It is a sight to behold.
The film itself is a fresh and original commentary on the modern “blockbuster” (read: superhero movies), and this superhero-parody ends up being the best superhero movie to hit theaters in years.
Perhaps the most poignant (and important) thing Birdman brings us is a discussion of the purpose and pain of creativity – and why we pursue creative endeavors at all.
Michael Keaton and Edward Norton both give stellar performances, and even funnyman Zach Galifianakis gets to show off his grown-up acting skills here.
Birdman is a bit of a head-scratcher, full of surreal and highly-imaginative elements that don’t always work. But this absurd, funny, and tragic black comedy is unlike anything you’re likely to see anytime soon. If Birdman isn’t ambitious, creative, and bold, then no film is.
© Matt Tory, 2014.