Box Office Report: “Birdman”

By Jack Heyden

I knew that Michael Keaton would be playing a mirage of himself (given that both he and his character were both formerly cast as megastar superheroes), and I knew that I was going to like what I saw on the screen. 

It was by far the most original film I have seen in a very long time — not solely for its casting or for the technique in which it was filmed but also by the grandeur of its theme.

There are no breaks in “Birdman,” and we get no rest. The film is shot to look like one long take throughout the course of several days leading up to a Broadway production. By never taking a break from the action, the audience truly can feel the insanity hovering over our misunderstood and washed up hero, Riggan Thomson (Keaton). 

But besides the bold darkness of the comedy, fashioned by casting Keaton and Edward Norton as an unbearable method actor, we cannot take our eyes off the truly special message of the film: What is it about our egos that make us do things that we know are catastrophic? Is it truly worth it to tarnish a relationship for the sake of being loved by those you will never and cannot ever know? Those are the questions that writer and director Alejandro González Iñárritu begs us to ponder. 

As we watch Thomson’s sanity crumble before his very eyes by his reckless pursuit of fame, we wonder why we too would pursue similar actions for the spotlight. When the curtain closes at the end of the day and an ego is fueled, does it all feel as if it came to fruition? The greatness of “Birdman” is its ability to ask those questions while presenting them in a way that no one has presented them before. It feels as if we are watching a movie about a play about a play, and until Riggan triumphs or fails, there is no easy way out. 

The casting in this film is undeniably some of the best I have ever witnessed. The actors all delved into the psyche of their characters just as the characters immerse themselves into the psyche of those in Thomson’s play. 

There was a surreal reality to the way this film was created, and I believe anyone with even mild intentions of seeing it should do so. As Oscar season continues, it is hard to witness a film like this and not place it near the top of my list. Although “Interstellar” is a force to be reckoned with, “Birdman” puts up the fight that begs to step into the ring. This film is a shoe-in for best picture, and I can’t imagine it not being a heavy contender. The acting, direction, cinematography and writing are all outstanding. The dialogue is heated and full of the pain and anguish that any play should emulate. This truly is a play recorded on camera with minor breaks in-between. Anyone who either loves the theater or loves film should make an effort to not only watch Birdman, but to also analyze it to the best of their ability. The rumors are true: Go see “Birdman.” It gets my PASS.

My Rating: 9.5/10

Current IMDb Rating: 8.8/10

Jack is a sophomore in Media. He can be reached at [email protected].