I act therefore I’m not. Riggan Thompson (Keaton) is selfless in the middle of an identity crisis, and selfish in his egotistical pursuit of an impossible play. Shadows of the mask he once wore as Birdman still blind him from emotionally engaging with those around him, but Keaton plays the role so sympathetically that these are mere whispers in the wings.
The ensemble cast are uniformly outstanding, and with Iñárritu and DoP Lubezki’s visual style of uninterrupted steadicam takes the result feels more like a succession of gripping theatrical two-handers than a film.
The manifestation of Riggan’s alter-ego is the one disappointing misstep, reaching for symbolic ambiguity but achieving only brief coherence. It’s a forgivable blot, but one that prevents Birdman from truly taking off.
CAST: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough
DIRECTOR: Alejandro González Iñárritu
WRITERS: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo
SYNOPSIS: A washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero must overcome his ego and family trouble as he mounts a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim his past glory.