Movie Review – Birdman (2015)

Director: Alejandro G. Inarritu

Stars: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough, Natalie Gold

In this Best Picture winner, Keaton plays an aging actor whose career has stalled after his success as a cult superhero. In an effort to become relevant again he directs and produces the remake of a play, while also trying to repair his fragmented relationship with his daughter. However, the play spirals out of control and his mind struggles under the pressure.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went into Birdman because it had a lot of acclaim but the director had made some disparaging remarks about superhero films, and I wasn’t sure how much the superhero aspect would come into play. I knew that it would be somewhat offbeat, and the fact that they cast Michael Keaton, who obviously has a history with superheroes, broke the fourth wall a little bit, so I sat myself down and strapped in for the ride.

And what a disappointing ride it was. I honestly can’t see what the Academy saw in this movie, and it’s the second best picture winner in a row that bored me to tears. There were moments of energy and the cast certainly gave themselves to the parts but I left the film feeling empty. I didn’t feel invested in the characters or the situation. I get that it’s an exploration of the psyche of actors and how they sacrifice a lot including their family…and their dignity to stay relevant, but it’s not untrodden ground and there are loads of other films that put Hollywood under the microscope.

I get the feeling that Birdman is saying something it thinks is revolutionary and then pats itself on the back for doing so. And if there is a deeper meaning then it’s cloaked behind some substance that just isn’t enthralling. I’ve read a few posts on IMDB about how there’s layers to the film, but there’s no way I’m putting myself through it to try and see them. The film isn’t a rewarding experience and it didn’t stimulate me on an emotional or intellectual level so for that reason I would recommend that you ignore the hype and avoid the film. Go watch its competitor, Whiplash, instead.


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