Birdman (2014)

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Birdman follows the story of a narcissistic has-been action movie star who is struggling to recover his lost fame with a leading role on Broadway. The subject and surrealistic style harkens greatly on 1947's A Double Life.

The most notable aspect of the film is its cinematography. Almost the entire film is shot in and around one Broadway theatre in seemingly one take. This helps to create a slightly surreal feel to the movie. Time moves forward at different paces despite this single shot feel. As scenes change, time occasionally and unexpectedly jumps ahead, sometimes days in advance. This produces a mesmerizing effect, further adding to the feeling that the protagonist is trapped in a way: he feels both physically bound to the theatre and internally obsessed over validation as an actor.

Birdman is, in fact, a fun romp driven by the various performances given by a cast of top-billed actors. The antics that ensue over the course of production of a stage play and its varied eccentric characters makes this film feel like a more pretentious version of Noises Off. Edward Norton is brilliant here in his role as an antagonistic "genius" method actor. He goes in and out of acting so much that the lines of reality and performance are constantly being blurred. Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, and Amy Ryan all give notably convincing and entertaining performances. Michael Keaton, though entertaining and dazzling at times, still fills like he's acting. Emma Stone, as Keaton's brooding daughter, is also unconvincing and overacting.