Although Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) has a seemingly simple plot, there is nothing at all simple about the film as it is filled with complexities and thought provoking conversations.
As the visuals tell one story, the narration another and the action unfolds giving a glimpse of the real and surreal, the audience comes to understand the history of Michael Keaton‘s Birdman. A former pop culture superhero actor, Michael Keaton’s Riggan Thomson is now trying to be taken seriously as an actor by staging, directing and acting in his own version of a Raymond Chandler Broadway play. Along the way to opening night, Thomson is plagued by a troubled daughter (played by forever teenager Emma Stone), an ex-wife, and a hyper-emotional cast including the amazing Edward Norton and the delicate Naomi Watts.
The film’s basic premise isn’t that unique, but the characters make it come to life, from Edward Norton’s theatrical antics to Thomson’s constant inner monologue—which the audience understands is narrated by his former alter ego, Birdman.
Filled with everything from action sequences to embarrassing scenarios, Birdman is at once comedic and dramatic, action packed yet subtle. In a surprising turn as the voice of reason, Zach Galifianakis is excellent and a far cry from his over the top crazy appearance in The Hangover series.
Michael Keaton is pretty brave throughout the film, showcasing his acting chops as well as his body in a very vulnerable role that is multi-faceted and never easy, almost in an art imitating life sort of way. From Batman to Birdman, Keaton has come a long way and the Academy is sure to take notice.
Check it out at the ArcLight Pasadena.