Starting off on the independent circuit last year, Birdman took the festivals one after the other and as the New Year approached, we were finally given the opportunity to sit down and watch this critically acclaimed masterpiece on wide release.
Birdman stars Michael Keaton as ‘Riggan’, an actor once famed for starring in a series of blockbuster superhero films trying to break into the theatre business, as he both writes and directs his first show on Broadway.
The story is brilliantly written, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has done wonders at bringing so much life to the halls of the Broadway theatre. Although the focus is Riggan’s descent into madness, Inarritu does a fantastic job bringing the other characters to life as well, building a fantastic world around the central theme. The real magic however comes from the direction of the piece. Clearly the master of his own work, Inarritu does wonders with the camera, choosing to follow each of the characters rather than centre them on the screen. Some of the best camera work I have seen in a while comes to life during both the scenes outside the theatre and when on stage making the audience feel like a fly on the wall rather than the ‘outsider looking in’.
Although the direction is extraordinary, its complimented by a rich soundtrack. Almost identical to Whiplash, the music is heavily influenced by Jazz throughout. Subtle beats of the bass drum flow through the veins of the film, adding great depth to the experience only hinting between reality and delusions that often occur.
Whether Inarritu has used Keaton as inspiration or muse, he clearly was the best choice for the role of Riggan. Keaton is both hilarious and inspiring within the main role, whether he felt this was particularly poignant to his career is another story altogether, but whatever reason he had for doing it, im glad he did. With equally impressive performances from both Ed Norton (as usual) and Emma Stone, its great to see them altogether on screen. For me however, the highligh performance comes from Zach Galifianakis, upping his game and showing us that he can act the part rather than act the idiot.
Overall, whether its the fascinating way its filmed, the sheer intensity of the story or the attraction of incredible acting throughout, there is a spark flowing between every scene that will appeal to anyone who enjoys going to the cinema. Birdman soars high and sets 2015 off to a huge start, 5 out of 5 stars.