It doesn’t exactly take an obsessive cinephile to notice the parallels between the story of Birdman and the events of its star Micheal Keaton’s own career. Keaton, who is best known for his role as Batman, plays the role of an actor called Riggin Thomson who is famous for playing the superhero Birdman. Much like Michael Keaton, who has struggled to unburden himself of the Batman legacy and took this Birdman role to reignite his career, Riggin is only famous for his superhero performance but wants to be remembered for something greater. To do this, he attempts to put on a play of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver.
For fans of:
Bullets Over Broadway
Michael Keaton may not have won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance – it was a tight race between him and Eddie Redmayne who eventually went on to scoop it – but his work in Birdman will surely be successful in its attempts to reevaluate how we think of the Batman star. He will not just be remembered as the campy superhero of Tim Burton’s late 1980s movie. He will now be considered a truly great actor. He delivers an impressively raw performance – similar to how Riggin puts everything into his play, Keaton gives this everything – that is emotionally charged, searingly honest and even surprisingly funny. Does Riggin manage to pull off the same feat despite the endless series of calamities that strike the production of his play? Well, you’ll have to watch it to find out.
Despite the fact that Birdman takes place almost exclusively in the backstage area of the Broadway theatre where Riggin is putting on his play, director Alejandro González Iñárritu and his cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who both won Academy Awards for their work, make it look incredibly stylish. They shot the film in just a handful of shots which are seamlessly stitched together to make it look like Birdman is done in one fluid movement. It is a unique and daring technique.