Viewed – 05 May 2015 Online Rental
It’s nice to go into a movie with no other expectation than the thought it might be good. This Oscar winning drama stars (where has he been?) Michael Keaton as a former super hero movie actor turned has-been struggling to make a name for himself in Theatre. As opening night looms, he is plagued with various problems and misfortunes, such as a recovered drug addict daughter (Emma Stone), actors butting heads with each other (Naomi Watts & Edward Norton) as well as his own issues with being haunted by the presence of his Birdman alter-ego who is constantly telling him to get back to what he was famous for.
This is very much a come back vehicle for Keaton who’s own career seems to be purposely imitated here and he is superb, complex and bonkers in all the ways that made him a perfect Beetlejuice or Bruce Wayne. Aided well by a solid supporting cast who all get their moment, with an almost-upstaging Norton and a believably fragile Watts, not to mention a decent turn by the ever likeable Stone. Yet beyond the decent performances, this is also about the trials and tribulations of being a star, being a has-been or trying to stay relevant without making a fool of yourself. It’s scarily convincing. Add to this a script that juggles realism with fantastical surrealism (has Keaton’s character really got super powers?) and excellent direction by Alejandro González Iñárritu backed up by highly creative ‘how did they do that?’ camera work – and I’d say this is one of the most thought-provoking studies of celebrity and celeb-culture I’ve seen in a long time.
This is also a movie that should get people talking. The ending will get you talking. The whole fly-on-a-wall structuring leads you to certain conclusions and then still makes you question things (at least it did me). And I love that sort thing; clever but doesn’t try and be pretentious about it. Oh and yes, I’d love to see Keaton play Batman again.
Verdict: 5 /5