Monday, November 24, 2014
MINI-REVIEW: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
October 17, 2014
Alejandro González Iñárritu
Fox Searchlight Pictures
1 hour 59 minutes
"Birdman," or "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance," can be summed up best in a single word: surreal. If you look up "surreal" in a dictionary or on the internet, the synonyms that you will find to be associated with the word would include "weird," "strange," "dreamlike," and, most commonly, "bizarre." This film comes to us from writer/director Alejandro González Iñárritu, and it has Michael Keaton playing the titular character. Well, the titular character of a famous movie series Keaton's character Riggan was the star of to be exact. It's pretty obvious here to see a strong comparison between the character of Riggan and Keaton's own life in regards to him playing "Batman" in the late 80s/early 90s. It's also pretty easy to see a strong resemblance to another film that Fox Searchlight released and helped to win many accolades, Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan."
You might be thinking to yourself "Wait, how the hell does a Michael Keaton movie relate to that movie where Natalie Portman is losing her mind and manages to make out with Mila Kunis?" Well, as hard as it may be to believe, the films are a lot similar to each other in more ways than one. For starters, both delve in to the psychological aspect of their main character, making the audience question what is real or what is a fragment of the characters' imaginations. Second off, they both have the central character in a type of rivalry with someone who potentially are more gifted and more pleasing than they are. Third off, both movies strangely enough feature a scene featuring some lesbian loving. Not gonna lie, that last one doesn't seem too much of a coincidence on my end of the spectrum, and it unfortunately doesn't further the plot or receive any explanation or recognition after it happens. Don't worry guys, that's the worst I can say about this movie, as the hype surrounding this flick is real and something to believe.
Aside from a couple of subplots that go absolutely nowhere, a score that sounded a little too repetitious at times, and an ending that felt like it was trying to be ambiguous just for the sake of doing it, it's hard to deny how great "Birdman" is as a performance showcase, an experiment in filmmaking, and an all-around movie in general. Michael Keaton is fantastic here and deserves all of the praise he's gotten thus far, although I personally believe the two standouts of the film were Edward Norton and Emma Stone. The cinematography was gorgeous and precise, and the whole concept of this film having the illusion of being one continuous shot is nothing short of groundbreaking. Iñárritu's direction and script, which he co-wrote with three other individuals, are concise and very sharp in their methods of storytelling. Aside from the little problems I had with the film, I can't deny that "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" is a masterful film and one that will be remembered long after 2014 concludes.
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