'Birdman' is an incredibly beautiful film about ego and wanting to be loved

Crédit photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures 'Birdman' is an incredibly beautiful film about ego and wanting to be loved

Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is a dark, surreal comedy that’s about many things: love, acting, celebrity, ego...and ego. A surreal film filled with visual poetry and existential moments of beauty and pathos, Birdman is also explosively funny. Michael Keaton plays Riggan Thompson, an aging Hollywood actor most famous for playing the role of Birdman, a superhero in a feathered bird suit. Birdman haunts Riggan both personally and professionally. He’s the voice of Riggan’s raging id, which is at war with his fragile ego. He berates Riggan for his desire to win artistic respect by writing, directing and acting in an adaptation of Ray Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. He reminds Riggan that he is Birdman—a superhero, a celebrity, a character loved by all.
Fox Searchlight Pictures​ 
Enter Riggan’s nemesis, Mike Shiner (Edward Norton), a volatile, “real” stage actor intent on stealing the show. Shiner’s intensity onstage is matched only by his inability to perform in his own life once the lights are off. Once again, the actor’s ego consumes any real connection or ability to love. Amidst Riggan and Mike’s narcissism, and the rather brilliant shallowness of the actresses co-starring in the play (Naomi Watts and Andrea Riseborough) is Riggan’s daughter. Brilliantly played by Emma Stone, Sam is her father’s assistant. She’s the brooding keeper of truth who understands how ego gets you into trouble.
Birdman’s an incredibly beautiful film. Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki’s long, continuous shots lend an improvised quality to the action. The structure riffs on the free jazz of the soundtrack. And in the surreal, postmodern role that the soundtrack plays, the drumming is at times made explicit by the appearance of an actual drummer amidst the action. Reality and fantasy bleed into one another as Riggan’s delusions take flight and he teeters between narcissism and self-doubt, mania and reality. The story, complex as it is, takes jabs at the pretensions and foibles of Hollywood and Broadway, at the shallowness of actors and actresses, the bitterness of critics and the ever-shifting platforms that offer celebrity. Mainly, though, it’s a story about ego and wanting to be loved. It’s a story within a story about what we really mean when we talk about love.
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Now in theatres

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