Personal rating – 1 Star
I was really looking forward to watching this movie, not only because it’s the movie which won the bigger number of Oscars this year (4 in all), but because I like Michael Keaton as an actor, and I simply salivate over Edward Norton’s talent -he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor by the way.
So there I was on a Saturday evening, home-made salami and mushroom pizza in one hand, glass of wine in the other, breathlessly waiting for it to start. Then after a while, waiting for it to actually kick in… then after an hour, waiting for SOMETHING to happen, and then after more than an hour and a half, just waiting for it to end. Which it finally did.
Disappointment as a word, barely describes my feelings.
Basically the film recounts the last week in the life of a sixty-year old something actor who had been famous in the 90s for his ‘Birdman’ role as the Superhero du jour… reference to Batman much? Riggan Thomson (aka Keaton) played Birdman in 3 movies and then after turning down Birdman 4, receded into semi-anonymity and cheesy roles, until finally he tried to break out as a success in the theatre instead of the big screen. Keaton, who, like Riggan, last starred in his last Batman movie in 1992 (he had the role for only 2 of the movies), afterwards DID kind of spiral into more mediocre roles. So, one obviously asks, is Birdman the film a parody of Keaton’s life?
Riggan directs and stars in a play in Broadway, apart from his tired and washed up life, we also meet up with the interlocking stories of his co-actors, their problems, their licentious sexual lives, and their general emotional and psychological confusion. Many of the reviews I read lauded Birdman saying that it gave the audience an insight into actors’ actual struggles… so, basically this film won 5 Oscars for showing non-actors that actors were as fucked up and decadent as everybody else? Wow, big deal!
Norton was kind of okayish – given that the part he had to play was totally pointless and colorless, but still almost every movie I’ve watched him in showcased his talent better than this one.
In the end, fed up of hearing the voice of his past superhero alter-ego berating him for being such a looser (and being right) and asking him to leave the theater and invest in a Birdman remake, Riggan tries to commit suicide… during his play’s premier. He botches it, as he botches everything else, and ends up in hospital. Everyone knows it was a suicide attempt, yet they seem to ignore that, leaving Riggan alone in a vast and unsupervised hospital bedroom in a sky-high building. Needless to be said, Riggan, believing himself to be able to fly as Birdman did, opens his enormous hospital window and jumps off. Riggan’s druggie daughter comes into the room, and not finding him, looks out. We are not shown what she sees, however we see her looking up and smiling.
So, what? Was Riggan really flying?
Wow, we didn’t see that coming at all did we?
And THIS movie won 5 Oscars, while a gem like The Imitation Game won only one?!
Say it with me – W…T….F !!