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‘Birdman’ Review: A Captivating Story Of Life After The Beak

Fri, October 17, 2014 3:28pm EDT by 4 Comments
Birdman Review
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

An aging, former superhero seeks to find the meaning of life after hanging up the cape — or wings rather — in the delightfully inventive film,’Birdman.’

Michael Keaton is the hero we all want and need yet again, and his majestic performance in Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) will make you stand up and cheer, as his character seeks redemption onstage. This dark comedy, which follows a former famous actor whose shining star power has waned with age, will make you want to embrace the messiness of life, no matter how complicated it gets.

‘Birdman’ Movie Review

When we first meet Riggan Thomson (Michael), he’s ready to make a comeback in a big way. He’s writing, directing and starring in his first Broadway play, an impressive feat for someone whose only claim to fame has been getting dressed up in a birdsuit.

He has spent the majority of his career as the famed superhero, Birdman, but is desperate to find relevance in his career and life. gone girl

Birdman is a representation of everything Riggan’s gained over the course of his life, and ironically, everything’s he’s lost. Adding more irony to the film, Riggan’s life closely resembles that of his portrayer, who is best known for his role in the 1989 superhero flick, Batman.

He’s ready to risk it all, but there’s complications along the way. Riggan’s troubled but razor sharp daughter Sam (Emma Stone) is a constant reminder of what Riggan believes is a bad parenting job.

Broadway lethario Mike Shiner (Edward Norton) joins his cast and goes head-to-head with Riggan, as he questions the meaning of his play.

Riggan Searches For Meaning

Despite his attempt to break the mold, his subconscious, birdsuit and all, walks firmly behind him. When Riggan lets himself become Birdman, he flies high above the world, drifting further and further from reality.

Since his identity has always been encompassed by the winged superhero, breaking away for good is a challenge for Riggan. Thus, Riggan starts to lose his mind to find himself, but it’s a hilarious and devastating journey of self-discovery.

The film perpetuates the idea that life is just a mess — a hilarious, scary mess.

Riggan’s Flock Takes ‘Birdman’ To The Next Level

As his play starts to come together, Birdman becomes a rowdy work of art.

As much as Birdman alters reality, it’s also simplistically real. As Riggan’s seeks acceptance, his ego is called into question. As Mike says in the film, “Popularity is the slutty little cousin of prestige.”

Riggan’s relationships with his troupe takes the film to the next level. With Mike, Riggan still proves he’s got some fight left in him, and their sparring matches onstage are some of the best scenes in the film. Whereas, with Sam and Lesley (Naomi Watts), Riggan is overprotective and nurturing.

As a whole, Birdman is an unexpected tour de force. The film is deliberately and creatively campy at times, but nevertheless, it’s a rollercoaster of emotions that will make you feel everything from melancholy to pure joy. It’s mesmerizing from beginning to end and soars way ahead of any and all expectations.

— Avery Thompson

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  3. ‘The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby’: Jessica Chastain Will Break Your Heart