With the always-anticipated Academy Awards coming up on February 22nd, I thought I would review one of my favorite nominees, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. Also known for films such as Babel (2006) and Biutiful (2010), Iñárritu can truly do no wrong. In this dark comedy, washed-up actor Riggan Thomas (Michael Keaton) tries to reinvent his career by directing a stage adaptation of Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” Chaos ensues as the opening night gets closer, and a chain reaction of horrible events threatens Thomas’ career.
This fantastic storyline is supported with an array of fabulous actors from Naomi Watts to a thin, yet still hilarious Zach Galifinakis. I would not be surprised if a cast-member went away with an Oscar this year. Michael Keaton (Best Actor nominee), Edward Norton (Best Supporting Actor nominee), and Emma Stone (Best Supporting Actress nominee) play equally complex characters, very unique from the other contenders.
Echoing the frenetic environment of the Broadway stage is Emmanuel Lubezki’s cinematography. Lubezki’s direction of photography is without a doubt the best I’ve seen all year. The twists and turns of the camera mimic the complex construction of the backstage corridors. Quick whips add another dimension to the witty (and sometimes violent) banter between characters. These movements, achieved with calculated precision, will keep you on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what could possibly happen next in an already doomed creative venture.
While my bet for Best Picture will forever be on Boyhood, Birdman is still a must see (even if you are not keeping up with your Oscar game). This movie is so exhilarating that it is definitely worth a visit to the movie theater and not to your Netflix homepage. If you are in the mood for something quirky, but with plenty of action and violence, Birdman is definitely the film for you.