Film Review: Birdman

Birdman 1

Birdman 2Plot: A washed-out actor is trying to restore the glory and fame he found in his youth when he was able to play a superhero. Riggan is not normal; he can move things with his mind. The trouble is, no one else sees his brilliance and no one else can understand his troubles – apart from the voice in his head.

When his new play launches, Riggan must face the critics and his inner demons if he is going to make it. But for a man stuck in the past, it’s hard to come to terms with how time moves on.


Birdman 3Quote: `A man becomes a critic when he cannot be an artist, the same way that a man becomes an informer when he cannot be a soldier.`


Opinion: The more popular a film is, the higher the chance that I won’t enjoy it. This is exactly what has happened here. For a film that won four Oscars, I did not enjoy this one. I spent half of it wondering what was going on and the other half not caring. I didn’t feel for the characters and I wasn’t gripped by the plot. I got to the end, but it was close.

The characters felt flat, which is ironic considering they were supposed to be deeply troubled. But due to random unexplained superpowers and voices in heads, it was hard to take any of the real problems seriously. There felt as if there was no development for anyone other than Sam (Emma Stone).

My main problem with the characters was that I simply didn’t care. Riggan (Michael Keaton) was a self-obsessed whiner – who remained that way throughout the whole film. Due to his nature, I did not want his plotline to develop or for him to overcome his issues: it didn’t feel as if he deserved it.

Like a lot of the films I have watched lately, this one felt too long. Cut down a few scenes by a couple of minutes each and you could easily take off half an hour and lose nothing from the content. It would have sped up the pacing and made the film more enjoyable.

There was some clever camerawork though, with the shots extending for a long period of time without cutting away. The confrontation early on between Riggan and Sam about things being worthwhile was particularly well done, with Riggan’s reaction hidden from the audience for the entire time Sam rants. It adds a deeper meaning to her words, driving home the point we don’t care what he thinks or does any more than the next person; we don’t need to see his reaction.

I didn’t understand this film, simple as. I don’t get the hype and I don’t know why it was so critically acclaimed. Am I missing something here? Maybe – and if you know what it is, then let me know. All I know is that I’ve seen far better without the awards and prestige attached. I’ll stick with the unknowns.

Amazon | HMV


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