Monday, December 1, 2014
Each and every year, we movie critics (however amateur) watch many a film solely because everybody says that we should watch them. As Oscar season continues, this is more and more likely to be the case, and, for me, Birdman was one of those films. I'm not a huge fan of any of the cast members. I never saw Biutiful. And, I didn't really know much about the film, aside from knowing that Michael Keaton's Riggan would be a washed-up former superhero-actor. In the midst of grad school, wedding preparations, Christmas tree decorating, and Thanksgiving, I managed to somehow find time to watch a movie for which I have no particular fondness! Now, you may say that I'm crazy and should probably stop going to the movies so often, but, if you've ever been blown away unexpectedly by a film, you know exactly why Birdman might have just been worth the watch...
Birdman was certainly worth the watch! If I were not a voice for the average film viewer but, instead, a voice for filmmakers, my review would likely be even more fond of the film than this review will actually turn out. Technically, Birdman was the most impressive movie-watching experience that I've had in 2014. Is it my favorite?... No. But, with the impressive camera work and a score that is sure to blow your brain, this film is one of those that a filmmaker-wannabe may cling to and desire to model. Again, I am not one to judge this sort of technicality, but, if you can listen to those drums and cymbals without feeling like Riggan's struggles and pressures are pounding down your own shoulders, please give me a call and let me learn of the perfect life that you live. The plot was simple, and the twists were few and far between. However, the story truly came to life, thanks to the stylistic beauty that Alejandro Inarritu and Antonio Sanchez were able to bring to Birdman.
Michael Keaton's Riggan was fascinating, and, as much as I would never want to be in his situation, I felt like his struggles were my own. Kudos to Keaton for the lively performance, which gave us one of the most memorable characters of 2014. While I may not be a huge Keaton fan, I do appreciate what he can do as an actor, and there is no doubt that he was great for this role.
The only character that I did not enjoy was Andrea Riseborough's Laura, who just didn't seem to fit in any situation that she was placed. There were two memorable moments/plotlines for Laura and both of them felt so, so very forced and unnecessary. She was distracting, at times, and the film would have been darn near perfect without her presence. For anyone else who has seen the film, I would love to hear your opinions on this character.
While Keaton's Riggan reigns supreme over the rest of the cast, Emma Stone's Sam and Edward Norton's Mike were also standouts in this cast. Stone is such a great actor, but she rarely chooses roles as gritty as that of Sam. I applaud her for going out on that limb! Similarly, I'm rarely impressed with Edward Norton and his characters, but this fit was perfect for him. Norton is one of those actors that I don't believe I will ever figure out, for one reason or another, but he knows how to be consistent.
No 2014 movie is going to catch me off-guard as much as Nightcrawler did, last month, but Birdman may end up in second place. I have listened to the soundtrack for this film at least three times, since I watched, last week. If you've ever had a movie experience enhanced by a film's score, try stacking that film up against Birdman and see what you think. I was blown away! I mean, Keaton was great, but I couldn't really soak in his performance because I was so engulfed in the music! Birdman is one of those that I can see myself watching many times, in the near and distant future, and I certainly hope that each of you take the time to check it out (at least once!). I give Birdman 4.2 out of 5 stars.