Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)
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Yes the acting. That acting! Perfect? Acting! Certainly from Michael Keaton who gives absolutely everything he has into what is an excellent meta-commentary performance akin to that of Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. Everyone else shines as much as they can in his shadow. Even Edward Norton's self-aware performance can barely match the former-Batman. Two former big screen superheroes go head-to-head, and the one who played an iconic DC hero beats out Marvel. Certainly a complete reversal of current reality.
But that camerawork. Holy camerawork! Immediately I had to check Emmanuel Lubezki's CV to determine his current streak of absolute beauties and despite my not seeing all of his work going to the start of his career, I shall just say that including the weakness of some of the material that passes through his lens, his work is definitely the highlight of any film dud in his filmography. Does he ever take a break? Three released Terry Malick films, two to be seen, a Coen Bros. picture, and a couple of Alfonso Cuarón beauties. And that's just in the past ten years. He is literal fire right now, and coming off tons of praise for Gravity he looks to be in the absolute tops of his game.
Some of the disguised cuts are a bit obvious, especially in the second half but that's not really the point here. You have to give props to Alejandro González Iñárritu for his audacity to make such a compelling film and let it come off well. As it's been said elsewhere, ever since his brilliant debut, Amores Perros, his movies have had a steady decline in quality. But here, even with a long "tracking shot" that lasts nearly the length of the film, time just slipped by.
These are my initial impressions which came with an immediate desire to see it again. However, honeymoons do end and so with time, I might reevaluate my stance. But for now, this is the only film that I wanted to see this year that has actually exceeded my expectations.
Felt like an excellent modern (or digital age) surrealism version of Sunset Boulevard. Sharpened by one damn fine and super realist performance of Keaton indeed. Love the witty camera work&tricks (including some glimpse of the drummer) + magnificent jazzy-orchestral scoring make Birdman unexpectedly superb. I like how the storyline is unpredictable, toying with audience's expectation.
A brilliant summary of how our own desire to cheat death by living immortally through our marks on the world -- and the vanity this stems from -- leads to conflict with others attempting the same, or loss, maybe humility.
Acting is incredible. Direction equally so. A unique score pounds throughout working on a few levels -- all meta-relavant to the discussion being had on screen: What do we talk about when we talk about anything?
10 out of 10. Four stars. 5 stars. However many you need to understand the brilliance of this film.
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In 6 official lists
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This movie ranks #83 in Reddit Top 250
This movie ranks #88 in Academy Award - Best Picture
This movie ranks #117 in Academy Award - Best Cinematography
This movie ranks #198 in FOK!'s Film Top 250
This movie ranks #271 in TSPDT's 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
This movie ranks #517 in Academy Award - Best Picture Nominees