A thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing; a review of Birdman (2014)


I went into Birdman (2014) with relatively high expectations. It was getting a lot of buzz at various film festivals, and was even given a limited release to retain the exclusivity of viewing it. I had to go to an old cinema in Lexington, MA to see this movie. The place itself is very reflective of NY art house cinemas and I love the overall tone of the theater; but this isn’t a review of a movie theater it’s a review of a movie so let’s go.

The film stars Michael Keaton as a washed up actor stuck in the eyes of the public as a superhero he played in the 90s called Birdman. Desperate to get out of this rut and make a name for himself in the 21st century, he decides to write, direct, and star in a low budget play. I’m not entirely sure if this is SUPPOSED to reflect Michael Keaton’s actual life due to the fact that he played The Batman in Tim Burton’s 1989 and 1992 films… But it seems like that.

While I thought each actor in this movie gave a noteworthy performance (i.e., Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, and more), I couldn’t hop on board with the story. It seemed to hop around all over the place making comments on social media and relevant Hollywood actors who are all “dawning capes” in superhero movies over the past decade. We even see characters develop conflicts and relationships with one another, yet I can’t help but notice that they get forgotten as the movie progresses. I spent half the movie hating Edward Norton’s character, then at the end of the movie I realized that nothing with him got resolved. There are scenes in the movie that I thought were too forced and therefore felt out of place. One scene in particular but I don’t want to spoil anything for people who will potentially see the movie. Birdman

Despite how I felt about the story, I will say that the movie was very fun to look at, and there’s one specific reason why. The movie is made to look like it is one consecutive shot with no cuts from the camera. Yes, there are scenes where the camera rolls for practically ten minutes straight; but the use of lighting, shadows, and change of scenery to provide transitions made the film seem LITERALLY seamless. From a cinephile such as myself’s standpoint, this is really REALLY cool! I expect this movie to certainly receive oscar nods for cinematography and editing.

Do I regret seeing Birdman? Yes and no. I wish I could back this story and it’s efforts to juxtapose a man’s inner struggle to be relevant with the juggernaut that is social media and how much it really plays into actors and whether or not they are “celebrities”. Yet, I felt they went about it in a bizarre manner leaving me in confusion when the credits rolled. But I can’t deny the camerawork and editing is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Overall Rating: 6/10 – Decent

I couldn’t get behind the story; but the cinematography and editing inspires me as an aspiring filmmaker.


@Were_Not_Sorry <– We’ll send you cookies!

IMAGES: http://oyster.ignimgs.com/wordpress/stg.ign.com/2014/10/Birdman_1600.jpg, http://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Birdman.jpg, http://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/vulture/2014/09/25/25-birdmanposter.o.jpg/a_900x0.jpg


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