With the exception of a few earlier films of the 2014 movie year (mainly “Boyhood”), we are now starting out the Oscar Contender season. One prime suspect is also one of the years best. “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” is very interesting and unique and superbly well made.
Michael Keaton stars as a washed up movie star named Riggan who, twenty years ago, was on top of the world as “Birdman” (Keaton himself was “Batman” over twenty years ago). Now he is trying some form of a comeback on stage (as well as directing himself). In his play are Michael (Edward Norton, who was also the incredible hulk, is fantastic hear), who is in love more with acting than he is with being in the real world and Lesley (Naomi Watts) who is finally on broadway and is now all nerves about it. There is also Riggan’s agent Jake (Zach Galifianakis) and his daughter Sam (a great turn by Emma Stone, who was Spider-man’s girlfriend).
The other main star of the film is the director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (who made Babel, Amores Perros, and 21 grams). He does something here in the movie that I would rather not say, because it was a surprise to me. Still, I will say it, so you can see the movie: He does the film in (almost) an entire take. The only other film I saw that did this was Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rope”. There is also a great musical score (mostly drums).
Parents, this is a movie that deserves its R rating (LOTS of swearing, much of it sexual). I would say if you have teens that are very mature, then they could be ok.
Still, this movie is one of the year’s best, and expect many Oscar nominations for it. I will say for Picture, Director, Lead Actor (Keaton), Supporting Actor (Norton), Supporting Actress (Stone), and more.
Overall: 4 1/2 Stars ****1/2