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Movie Breakdown: Birdman

October 23, 2014


People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

The Michael Keaton-lead Birdman is a black comedy directed by the revered Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.  Early viewers have yet to stop raving about it.

The Reality:

Most of the hype I’ve heard about Birdman has been in regards to its cast, and they are certainly deserving of an enormous amount of praise.  Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis and Emma Stone turn in award-worthy performances, and I was often impressed with the work done by the rest of the film’s familiar faces.  However, I think the actual star of Birdman is its co-writer, director and producer, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who has crafted something that is a complete mindfuck both technically and thematically.

Personally, I found Birdman to be the most brilliantly weird thing I’ve seen this year.  The film is immensely meta, intricately designed and loaded with raw intensity, and I found it to be an impressive effort.  With that being said, I can’t say it’s for everyone.  While the movie is an exhilarating ride, it’s also exhausting in the way it throws an avalanche of exposition at you over the course of one long continuous take.  So in other words, it never stops moving.  There are no moments to breathe or think about what’s happening on the screen, Inarritu just plows forward and you either commit and go all in or you put on your bewildered hat and wonder if you can get your money back.  Also, while the film has been advertised as some sort of anti-superhero black comedy, it’s actually less of that and more of a bizarre, deeply layered look at art, acting and so on, and I have no doubt that some of you will find it to be pretentious babel.

Seek it out only if you’re an adventurous, experimental-loving movie-goer.

The Lesson:

I think I understood it.  Did I understand it?  I probably didn’t understand it.

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