Free “Birdman”. The Genius Oscar-Winner Of 2015 Movie Review Example
Shot in 2014, “Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” by Alejandro González Iñárritu is the first comedy of the Mexican director and Best Picture of the 87th Academy Awards. The film is significant for its uncommon cinematographic devices, outstanding screenplay, and the genius acting of the world-famous cinema stars. The work of the talented production team was marked by numerous nominations and awards.
“Birdman” is a story of a former Hollywood star, Riggan Thomson, who is now trying to reinvent his career. He used to be famous for playing a superhero, namely Birdman, but nothing else in his career was worthy. Riggan decides to direct a Broadway play “What We Talk about When We Talk about Love”, the adaptation of the short story of the same name by Raymond Carver. In spite of the persistent voice of Birdman in his head, he is trying to forget his only significant role and does not want to be associated with it anymore. The play is destined to be much-debated because Riggan invites Mike Shiner, the eccentric method actor whose contribution and breakdown at the same time are invaluable.
Throughout the movie the main character is tormented by the mixed feelings – he has a complex of the unrecognized genius, he realizes he is a loser and a horrible father, and numerous people state he has nothing to do with theatre and his play is a failure. It seems like the confidence of being a superstar and the acknowledgement of the harsh reality fight inside of him and drive him crazy. The brilliant acting by Michael Keaton lets the audience understand and feel the character.
The film ends with a success of the play due to the eccentric previews and the final scene where Riggan shoots his nose off. In the hospital, he opens the window and smiles at the birds. When his daughter, Samantha, enters the room, he is gone so she looks outside the window. Here, the director proposes the audience the exposed end – she looks down and then, upwards, and smiles. Of course, he must have committed the suicide but the director proposes the fantastic version of his death as him becoming Birdman.
The most significant cinematographic device used in the movie is filming in a single shot – this idea came to the director even earlier than the plot. Of course, not the whole movie is a single shot: it consists of several long takes which are carefully edited so that it seems like the actors are followed with the camera for two hours. The actors were required to learn long dialogues in order to be shot with no mistakes on the first take. The whole movie was carefully rehearsed, and the process of shooting and editing took little time. This method was marked by the Academy Awards and the film won Best Cinematography.
The scenes on the stage were shot in St. James Theatre, but the backstage was built in Kaufman Astoria Studios. The director paid a lot of attention to create the interesting cinematographic effects which needed the studio. For example, in the dressing room, the mirrors at the desk are always constructed in such a way that the audience can see the character’s reflection. In the scene where Lesley Truman and Laura Aulburn are kissing, the camera moves along the mirror but it cannot be seen in the reflection.
In order to make the movie’s atmosphere more authentic, the natural light was used. The live scene where Riggan crosses the Times Square, the director took advantage of New York’s natural brightness – here, he followed the actor and shot him on the phone (the video would be the one that Samantha shows to his father on YouTube). The minimal production team accompanied the actor so that the crowd’s attention was not hugely attracted.
The operators chose Arri Alexa cameras for shooting: their small Alexa M cameras allowed to film very closely to the actors’ faces. The 14 mm lenses allowed the director to get the needed effect of extreme close-ups.
The film’s music score was composed mostly by Antonio Sánchez and entirely consist of drums. It is the drums that create the necessary rhythm of the film and contribute to its style and atmosphere. The score was composed by the jazz drummer abstractedly imagining the movie and the characters and then spliced to the ready motion picture. Unfortunately, the music score of “Birdman” was absent in the longlist for the Oscar nomination – the judges found the most prominent parts of the score included classical music, and the candidate cannot participate with the non-original music cues. Sánchez and Iñárritu were not satisfied.
The cast of “Birdman” was carefully chosen so that the audience can enjoy the beautiful faces of the famous talented actors. Michael Keaton did an amazing job though he was long absent on the screen which reminds of his character Riggan. Edward Norton is brilliant as usual – the audience believes and loves his character. Emma Stone, the young starlet, showed herself as a serious actress capable of much more than “Spiderman”. All the actors got perfectly into their roles and thus contributed to the genius movie.
The director’s style can be characterized by the combination of realism and derision of the contemporary cinema art movements. He slightly mocks at the society’s ignorance and highlights the contemporary unfair mode of critiquing the art. “Birdman” is definitely one of his most powerful works.
My first impression of the movie was shocking – I did not see such profound works for a long time. This is exactly the case when the motion picture is a full value work where every detail is carefully thought of. “Birdman” is a great example of the movie where cinematography, acting, editing, and director’s style are perfect – that is what Best Picture must look like.
Iñárritu, Alejandro G. (Producer), & Iñárritu, Alejandro G. (Director). (2014). Birdman [Motion Picture]. United States: Fox Searchlight Pictures.
McClintock, Pamela (2015). Making of “Birdman”: Alejandro G. Iñárritu Recounts Harrowing Experience Behind His First Comedy. The Hollywood Reporter.