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Birdman Review (1 Viewer)


Stunt Coordinator
Sep 15, 2013
Real Name
Ben Mk
Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman is a different kind of film than what moviegoers may be used to from the director. It's a drama, it's a dark comedy, it's surreal, and it's Michael Keaton's best performance to date.

Keaton plays a washed-up actor named Riggan Thomson -- best known to his fans as Birdman. Over twenty years past his prime, he's planned a career comeback, with his stage adaptation of Raymond Carver's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love", which he also stars in and directs.

But as the countdown begins to its preview screenings, he's having trouble keeping it all together: his cast, his relationships, and not the least of all himself.

A snippet from my theatrical review:
We often see and hear things from Riggan's perspective, such as when the voice of his alter ego speaks to him in moments of stress, beckoning him to return to the role; or when he imagines he has telekinetic powers, and he uses them to send objects in his dressing room smashing against the wall in a fit of rage. In conjunction with the film's score, which consists largely of bouts of staccato drumming that permeate almost every scene, it adds a layer of surrealism to the overall effort — beyond the obvious Batman to Birdman comparisons — piquing when Riggan succumbs to full-on delirium, soaring high over the streets of New York.

Yet, Birdman isn't gimmicky. There's an intimacy about it, the kind that makes it almost feel like a play itself. And that's due in no small part to the actors, each of whom is playing a character who's vulnerable in one way or another. But it's Keaton, of course, who steals the show, with an eye-opening performance laced with raw intensity and dark humor, seeing the world around him as only a man at the end of his rope could. His story — that of someone seeking professional and personal redemption — underpins the movie. And boy does it resonate.
4.5 out of 5.

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Jun 30, 1999
Finally got a chance to see "Birdman", and it's quite a ride, mainly due to the story being told through long tracking shots, obviously spliced together at opportune points, but still very ambitious and skillfully done. Can't imagine the technical lighting requirements that had to be solved to get the tracking shots to look uniform and non-disjointed or distracting. And then you add in the directing, and the acting components, it's a film that keeps moving on its own momentum simply through the camerawork and plot rhythms. Director Inarritu handles all of the material quite deftly, engagingly so.

Story-wise, it's a bit meta with respect to entertainment, whether it be from Hollywood, or on Broadway, the truth of critics, and even social media entertainment engagement component that plagues us today. Riggan Thomas (Michael Keaton), having experienced fame and fortune early in his acting career as "Birdman" (a la "Batman"), comes back to Broadway with his own play (encompassing story/vision/directorial/acting elements) that may as well be his last stand to remain relevant in the entertainment business himself, his internal monologue is peppered with doubts and ominous thoughts.

The supporting cast (Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifinakis, Amy Ryan, Lindsay Duncan, and Andrea Riseborough) is also solid as they drift in and out of the story as we mostly follow Riggan throughout the film, but not always just his point of view.

I give it 3 stars, or a grade of B.


Senior HTF Member
Jan 1, 2012
Richardson, TX
Real Name
Jose Ortiz-Marrero
Outstanding movie. One of the best of the year, deserving much more than a B. But all ratings are subjective, aren't they?

Mark Zimmer

Senior HTF Member
Jun 30, 1997
It kind of feels like a retread of Black Swan. Stage performer, desperate for success, coming completely unglued and self-destructive.


HW Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Oct 5, 2005
Lee Summit, Missouri
Real Name
I loved it. One of my top 3 films of the year. REALLY good, and Keaton eats it up. I thought the storyline, even when it drifted toward the fantastical was excellent and the relief moments were great. Everyone who performed in this exceeded my expectations

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