by Jesse Weiner
I am a sucker for movie reviews. I will (in most cases) only go see a film unless it receives a sufficient write-up in the newspaper or in magazines. Who wants to spend $10 on a movie that turns out to disappoint? So, when a mysterious movie called “Birdman” was released into theaters and received some of the best reviews I have read in recent memory, along with Oscar buzz, I was intrigued. Now, after sitting through the two-hour film at the Ambler Theater, I realize that Birdman did indeed blow my mind.
The plot is simple enough: former action movie star of the “Birdman” trilogy Riggan Thomson (played by Michael Keaton) is trying to get his life back on track by directing and starring in a Broadway play- Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”. However, to lead his play to success, Thomson must deal with his rebellious co-star (Edward Norton), his drug-addict daughter (Emma Stone), a new nervous actress in the play (Naomi Watts), and his girlfriend (Andrea Riseborough). He is aided by his best friend Jake (Zach Galifianakis), and the voice of his former character, Birdman, in his head, encouraging him to quit show business and go back to action movies.
Michael Keaton, performing in his first major movie role in years, does a remarkable job at displaying the struggle and pain of Riggan, and Edward Norton is great as his stuck-up co-star Mike Shiner. Emma Stone also does a brilliant job as the conflicted daughter of Riggan. One fascinating aspect of the film that stood out to me is that the majority of the film, which almost completely takes place in a Broadway theater, appears to have been taken in a single shot. Even as the movie changes scenes, instead of abruptly changing setting, the audience follows a character who leads the way to the following scene. This adds another interesting and unique touch to the already fascinating movie.
The film also has a bizarre side, though, which I did not think was bad, but indeed very odd and thought provoking. From the beginning, when Riggan is meditating in mid-air, to later in the film, when Riggan is flying through Time Square, the audience realizes that the protagonist has odd special abilities. These occurrences are very weird, and, although they include superb special effects, I think that they puzzle the viewer more than perplex. The Birdman voice inside Riggan’s head is peculiar as well, but it represents his past, which is an interesting touch .
Overall, “Birdman” is an extremely unique and must-see film. The strange aspects of the movie are very weird, especially for a teenage viewer, but they really do make you think. I highly recommend “Birdman” to anyone seeking a mind-blowing, thoughtful movie experience.