Year: 2014 (2015 U.K Release)
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Screenplay: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr, Armando Bo
Starring: Michael Keaton
Synopsis is here
Wesley Morris in his positive review of Birdman questions whether its director; Alejandro González Iñárritu, has a certain type of artistic insecurity that set him apart from the likes of Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro. A creator of grand, depressive moral tales such as 21 Grams, or Babel, I would suggest that such insecurity could come from Iñárritu's view on
Iñárritu often wishes to pummel you with an extremely crushing world view, which rears its head even in the films of his I've enjoyed. Iñárritu's Bitiful brings forth so much depression on such a large scale, it streams past overwhelming is descends into overbearing. The film is so bludgeoning it made me want to find a copy of the Bicycle Thieves (1948) and give a class on how to make misery manageable. Keep it simple, and you won't lose the audience.
Iñárritu's latest feature; Birdman, however, seems to work due to a condensing the whole soul crushing globalism angle. Everything is stripped down to the (still quite large) ego of actor
Birdman is smart about the state of modern Hollywood film making. At one moment, it's suggested that everyone major player now must don a cape now to gain work, the joke being that Keaton's Riggis not only used to be a superhero in this film, but Keaton himself set the modern ball rolling with his casting in Batman (1989), a film which helped shape some of the worst aspects of modern mainstream cinema. Some of which we now see cynically mutated into their present form by Birdman's hand. Many of Birdman's humorous moment works when fiction bleeds into real life. The "process" of pretentious method actor Mike Shiner (Norton) becomes amusing when you consider his own background. Not only with comic book movies (he was once the Hulk), but also the
Lesley: "I wish I had more self-respect!"
Laura: "You're an actress."
My mind quickly casts back to when a flustered Watt's exited her interview with Simon Mayo early, while on promotional duty for the much maligned Diana (2013). The film also nails a particular type of critic (an icy Lindsey Duncan), whose more interested in their personal axes to grind rather than the name of art. It's amusing because the element of truth hits the right note. A sense of balance that Iñárritu would struggle with when giving us his more sensitive features.
The films flights of fancy are still grand and preposterous. It features a climax which mimics the opening of 8 ½ (1963). Morris also makes comparisons to Fellini and I'm inclined to agree as the film shares similar elements with the aforementioned title, although Birdman seems less interested in how the women
It's when the films injects its dark brand of
Despite this, Birdman's lighter approach is refreshing from a filmmaker who mostly enjoys roaming in the gloom. The craft makes the film worth seeing once. The satirical edge and the sight of Michael Keaton reclaiming some of that edgy, manic energy which made him such a stalwart of the 80's/90's makes gives the film a great amount of heft. But above all this, Birdman's more concise viewpoint doesn't bog us down. After the weighty