Cinema visit, Birdman – Did I get it?

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(Theatrical release poster)

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the cinema. On this occasion it was my husbands turn to choose what film we would be watching. His choice was the black comedy, Birdman or (the unexpected virtue of ignorance) – long name!

Prior to watching Birdman I didn’t really know much about the film itself, other than the fact it stared Michael Keaton. That and the fact he was portraying a washed up actor who was famous for playing an iconic superhero – Birdman. I found this quite ironic really as when you say the name Michael Keaton I instantly think Batman. I’m by no means implying Keaton is washed up, that is just my own musings.

The story follows Riggan Thomsons (Keaton) struggle to get a new play ready for opening night on Broadway, in an attempt to regain some of his former glory.

The film though enjoyable, left me feeling confused. I’m not sure if I actually got what the director, Alejandro Gonzolez Inarritu, is trying to say. The film had definitely been made with an intelligent audience in mind and for want better wording is a bit of a head fuck. Perhaps it’s just meant to be enjoyed for what it is, and I’m reading to much into it, maybe?

Throughout most of the film I felt that I was actually inside Riggins head, and was experiencing his inner struggles. I put this down to the style of filming. The film has been filmed in long continuing sequences so it takes on an almost manic pace. The presence of Birdman within Riggins dressing room as goading external voice combined with the almost constant drumming from outside the theatre lends itself to the viewer experiencing the internal battle he is experiencing. I actually felt quite overwhelmed by it all. Hence I’ve said it was a bit of a head fuck.

I found the deliberate overacting, we are in theatre land of course, quite funny. It reminded me of a scene in friends, in which joey was being taught the art of spitting when you annunciate, as method of acting, with his characters co-star Gary Oldman. Comedy value aside though it added to the manic feel of the film.

Edward Norton and Emma stone also have given strong performances. The chemistry between the two characters I found to be believable.

Birdman is defiantly worth a look, I’m still not sure if I actually understood the film correctly but appreciated it nether the less. I wouldn’t wait for TV release as I think the large screen and noise of the cinema is essential to the viewing experience. My interpretation may be totally wrong but that’s ok as that is the beauty of film, we all take from it different things, whether right or wrong.

Bye for now, Katy.

(Theatre image borrowed, not my own)