Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu Birdman is an independent release American Black-comedy film starring Michael Keaton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, Andrea Riseborough & Amy Ryan. The movie, made to look like it was a single continuous length shot, garnered wide acclaim from critics, with praise particularly directed to its acting, direction, and screenplay. The story follows faded Hollywood actor Riggan Thompson, famous for his role as superhero Birdman, as he struggles to mount a Broadway adaptation of a short story by Raymond Carver.
With his glory days as the superhero comic hero Birdman in 3 movies long behind him, washed up actor Riggan Thompson is attempting to resurrect his career by writing, directing & acting in a Broadway play based on Raymond Carver’s short story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”. Co-producing the play is his best friend and lawyer Jake and Riggan’s girlfriend Laura, and first-time Broadway actress, Lesley also co-star. Riggan is tormented by the voice of Birdman which he free casino cash no deposit imagines to mock & criticize him and also imagines himself performing feats of telekinesis and levitation. During rehearsals a light fixture falls and injured actor Ralph (Riggan tells Jake that he made it happen himself in order to remove the actor from the play) and Lesley suggest that Riggan replace Ralph with the brilliant but volatile method actor Mike Shiner. In order to do that Riggan refinances his house to fund his contract.
The initial previews go disastrously with Mike breaking character over the replacement of his gin with water and attempts to rape Lesley during a sex scene. Riggan is also pissed at the younger actor as he feels that the latter is stealing his limelight with large news articles & interviews showing Mike as the star attraction. Mike is also hitting it off with Riggan’s former addict daughter Samantha, who he catches holding pot. His relationship with his daughter is strained as she accuses him of never being there for her when she was younger. On evening, during a break in the play, Riggan catches Samantha & Mike flirting and accidentally locks himself out of the theater and walks in his underwear through Times Square to get back inside; amateur videos of the incident go viral online. Later he runs into influential critic Tabitha Dickinson and though Riggan tries to be nice to her, she tells him that she hates his kind Hollywood celebrities that “pretend” to be actors and promises to “kill” his play with a negative review without having seen it. After arguing with her, he gets drunk and passes out on the streets of NY and the next day hallucinates a conversation with Birdman, who tries to convince him to do a 4th blockbuster film, and also imagines himself flying around the city.
On opening night, in the final scene which ends with his character shooting himself, Riggan uses a real gun with real bullets to shoot himself in the face. He earns a standing ovation from all but Tabitha, who leaves during the applause. When he wakes up he has had reconstructive surgery to his nose and Jake shows him rave reviews in the paper, including one from Tabitha who calls his uicide attempt “super-realism”, a new form of method acting. While Samantha is out getting him a vase for some flowers, Riggan goes to the bathroom and dismissed the hallucination of Birdman and seeing birds outside, climbs onto the window ledge. When Samantha comes back in to the room, she sees something in the sky and smiles as the movie ends.
What does she see that makes her smile? Her father flying in the sky? The ending is strange because all the feats of levitation and telekenesis is just supposed to be in his head right? I mean Riggan isn’t really a superhero? What could that ending mean? Nevertheless, it is a brilliantly directed, shot, produced and acted film one of the most unique way of telling a story I have ever seen. It is a look at Hollywood and the film industry itself and is well worth watching. Keaton is masterful, probably his best role yet. A 9 outta 10!