Riggan (Michael Keaton), who formerly played the comic-book vigilante Birdman, has now became a washed-up actor. In an attempt to regain his fame, he adapts, directs and stars in a Broadway theatre play.
But issues raised by his cast and crew make it increasingly difficult, to name a few his daughter Sam has drug addictions (Emma Stone), his co-star, Mike has sexual issues (Edward Norton), his other co-star, Lesley is overly emotional (Naomi Watts), other co-star is overly sexual (Andrea Riseborough) and his producer, Jake is flamboyant (Zach Galifianakis). It all becomes too much for Riggan – but what is different to other mid-life crises, and the only similarity between himself and his former on-screen vigilante, is that he does actually have his super-powers…
Michael Keaton, much like his real-life status, has played a former comic-crusader (Batman), but unlike Riggan, he is not washed up, but rather un-utilised. Until now, in this definitive performance that balances the comedy, emotion and physicality in fine tune.
One thing that defines Birdman, is the completely unique filmmaking. The term unique is used a lot - but this film really is different. Under the direction of Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman, for the entire two hour running appears to be one constant tracking shot that follows the characters and locations throughout with no cuts. Obviously it does, and you can at times guess where.
Overall it is incredible work by DP Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity). Partnered with the elusive, beating drum soundtrack and stellar performances (particularly Emma Stone) the film is just oozing Oscar's glory.
Audacious, entertaining, yet raising many concepts, we tried to like it so much. But it over demonstrates its excess of style over substance and overwhelmed viewing experience.