By Daryl Bär
From the establishing shot we’re taken on an intimate and utterly captivating journey by Alejandro González Iñárritu, which covers the neurosis of a man past his prime and his struggle to discover meaning in his life, his relationships and find value in his sense of self. Michael Keaton is astounding as Riggan Thompson and the titular Id-monster within. This is a man wholly focused on creating a new image as an actor/writer/director in theatre, distancing himself from the Hollywood blockbuster persona he fears will always define him. The various relationships that litter his existence all play second fiddle to the theatrical debut on which he has gambled his future.
Each scene seamlessly pans, cranes and dissolves into the next like the head scratchingly intricate Russian Ark and oddly evocative of Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity. The sheer meticulous visual style shows the feats the filmmakers will go to in order to create an aural narrative that manages to maintain momentum. This is a motion picture in the truest sense of the term, showcasing an outstanding cast, stunning visuals and a Jazz drum score that perfectly compliments the mood and themes throughout.
In many respects this is a film about self-belief, fear of failure and an inability to let go. Riggan spends a great deal of time battling the voice of Birdman in his head, often displaying extraordinary powers (most often while alone) to the point where you can’t tell where his delusions start and reality ends. As far as I’m concerned, this undertaking is a career high for Keaton. He has never displayed so much versatility in a performance. I sincerely hope we get a resurgence in weighty roles for the man who gave us Beetlejuice, Bruce Wayne, Ray Nicolette and er… Ken in Toy Story 3!
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