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Birdman

Michael Keaton plays Riggan, an actor who used to be the star of a lucrative and well-known movie franchise, Birdman. At this point in his life, he wants to create “art” and is directing and starring in a Raymond Carver play. He seems to have split into two different personalities inhabiting the same body – the man who wants to create art and the man who longs for the Birdman days of fame and success. I really liked this movie: a) the acting is top-rate – Michael Keaton deserves an Oscar nomination for his performance; Edward Norton is incredibly funny and completely over the top as Mike, the stand-in actor who takes over the stage, and Emma Stone as Riggan’s daughter (she has one of the best and most piercing monologues in the movie, along with the movie critic); b) the way the movie is filmed is brilliant – there are long takes where the cameraman follows the characters through passages inside and outside of the building – you feel like you are the director who is seeing every movement of the actors; c) the music is great – mostly just drums that add to the moody feeling of the movie; and d) it is very funny and the humor provides an extremely sharp look at the entertainment industry. The movie is deeply psychological and examines the boundaries of roles (what is real and what is acting) and looks at Riggan who is critically examining his own life, in its successes and failures, as the previews for his play seem to be failing. Big thumbs up for a movie that won’t be for everyone; it is rather strange, but it is well worth watching for the acting and technically in the way it is put together – and a lot of laughs along the way. It is a rather different movie than the director’s previous ones – Amores Perros, Babel, and 21 Grams.(2014; 5 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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