Birdman (2014)

Birdman

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
I’m utterly confused.

There’s been a lot of hype over some movie called Birdman starring Michael Keaton. From the brief movie summary on IMDb, it almost seems to be some kind of semi-parody of Keaton’s own life and experiences with Batman, and there are bits and pieces in the film that seem to suggest as much – but for the most part, Birdman is one of the weirdest movies I think I’ve ever seen…and I’m completely confused as to what in the world was happening and how on earth it got all of these awards…it was in all honesty – weird.

I’m even at a loss at what this movie was about. On the surface, it seems to be exactly what IMDb suggests – a film about a washed out actor that used to play a superhero in the past – and is trying to reclaim his fame through the use of a broadway play – but deeper than that…this guy has some serious issues. His days as a superhero has gotten to his head, and whatever superpowers his character had…something tells him he still has these powers in reality – and I think the film was always going for a – does he really? question, but because we never see him use powers next to anyone…it seems clear to me that he’s just unstable.

First of all, let me acknowledge the film style – as that was the strongest point of focus in my opinion. They went for a film that appears to be one continuously long shot – not unlike in Silent House. However, it almost felt like a play within a play, as the dialogue in the film also felt very reminiscent of an actual Broadway play. The characters, as they walk around the limited set location…seems almost like a behind-the-scenes tour – which in all fairness is pretty neat. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the choice of dialogue, but for what its worth, it does work very well. Because these actors had to remember very long segments in script, their acting is ridiculously good. Seriously.

Now, from what I can recall, Silent House was a movie that thought their cuts out more efficiently and felt more fluid. There were a few moments in Birdman where I clearly caught where some of the cuts were, since it went really dark and moved through dark corners that were basically completely black in parts. It was a little obvious here and there. It’s not a big deal, but more of a basic observation.

I do typically enjoy movies that feel like they are one continuous shot – and the same applies here, but the problem just comes in at a couple things. The choice of dialogue, weird pacing, and overly peculiar things that go on in this guy’s head. The way they are displayed and thought out is brilliant – but as a movie….I’m a little turned away by some of these things. Let’s just say this – the film feels like it has a ton of endings because there is no clear plot and so it feels so much longer than it is. The dialogue feels fake and theatre-like as well – it’s just something I won’t be rushing back to see any time soon. How did it get all those awards?

The Good:

On a very, very technical level, this film is gold. They had to think for a very long time, I take it, to get all of these shots perfect. All of these actors had to stand at specific places at specific times – and get all of things right during long filming sequences…it had to be challenging. I totally respect them for that.

The Bad:

Technical things are just fine, but I watch movies for movies. As a movie on its own, I got pretty bored. I didn’t think it was all that funny, but rather peculiar and overly long – and in the end I just wanted it to stop.

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