Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is a semi-surreal drama-comedy, produced and directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, who also co-wrote the script with Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. and Armando Bo. It stars Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone, and Naomi Watts. The story follows Riggan Thomson (masterfully played by Keaton,) a movie actor made famous for staring as a superhero in a series of films called Birdman. Years later, with his glory all but faded, Riggan attempts a comeback via a Broadway adaptation of a Raymond Carver story.
Birdman is relentless, bizarre and, at times, very funny. It features a great cast and superb performances, most notably by Michael Keaton, Ed Norton and Emma Stone, with the latter’s intensity illuminating the screen.
The film further enjoys excellent camera work that organically participates in telling the story, depicting most of the film as one continuous take. The original music track, composed by Antonio Sánchez, is made mostly of improvised percussion. The resulting effect amplifies the film’s dynamics and tone while adding an edge of nervousness.
As the plot explores the different relationships of its main character -- with his fellow actors, ex-wife, current lover, angry daughter, a theater critic, and maybe even more so than the others, with Birdman -- his alter-ego, the story reveals various facets of a man lost in a world he cannot fully comprehend. Whether he is a schizophrenic, lost in fantasy, or just clinging to a glorious past, Riggan exemplifies a person that at some point allowed life to pass him by.
Birdman, with its complex layers, surreal atmosphere and anxious pace, is not a film for everyone. Yet those who will take to the story, will enjoy the film long after the end credits roll by.