Fall Movies: Birdman with Michael Keaton


A comedy-drama co-written, produced, and directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. The film stars Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Amy Ryan, Zach Galianakis, Andrea Riseborough.

         Rating: R     Running time: 119 mins


Entertaining, romantic, beautifully acted, imaginatively conceived and stylistically exciting, Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance (the film’s full name) is one of those movies that’s worth paying the babysitter to see.  Rated R it’s not for young children, but is ideal for date night as it’s one of those films that provokes thought and conversation and will stay with you long after the credits roll. As one of those films that will undoubtedly be in end-of-year awards contention, it’s worth seeing now.

Set in the world of Broadway theatre, the story centers around Riggan Thomas (Michael Keaton) a washed up film actor famous for playing the superhero Birdman who is attempting to re start his career by staging a Broadway play that he directs and stars in. To get the play staged, he has to over come multiple disasters including the last minute loss of an actor, a potential law suit, troubles with his addict daughter (Emma Stone), a critic who vows to shut down the show and most pressing of all his personal demons. He is literally haunted by his alter ego, Birdman.

Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, 21 Grams) all the performances are noteworthy. Michael Keaton will surely get an Oscar nod or there is no justice, and Edward Norton also does a phenomenal supporting turn as a cocky but insecure Broadway star. Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Amy Ryan and Zach Galafindakis all shine and the tension and excitement of both “the theatre” and this film are enhanced by the director’s choice to make it all appear to be one long shot. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki creates this riveting, seamless reality, one of the film’s many impressive hallmarks.

The highest compliment I can pay it is this: My 18 to 20 year old daughters loved it, as did their friends as did my husband and myself. It’s a film for all ­adult ages and despite diving into some of the darkest struggles of a man’s soul still somehow manages to leave our spirits more up than down.

Reporting by Cary Bickley

Photo Credit: Atsushi Nishijima/Fox Searchlight Pictures