A waning star who had done successful superhero roles in the past tries to show the audiences the real actor that he is, who was hidden behind the mask he was successful for, by choosing to direct and enact in a play for Broadway adapted from a story written 60 years ago by Raymond Carver, the very creator whose note to him that went, “Thanks for an honest performance” during a school-play, convinced him he was a natural acting talent, thereby (re)inventing himself in his death &letting the viewers know the unexpected virtue of being ignorant – that being ignorant, you wouldn’t need reasons to be suicidal.

(Note: The plot was written in one sentence as a mark of tribute to the film that takes us through its course in one winding shot)

Running Time:
122 min
Release date:
30 January 2015
Directed by:
Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Produced by:
Alejandro G. Iñárritu
John Lesher
Arnon Milchan
James W. Skotchdopole
Written by:
Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Nicolás Giacobone
Alexander Dinelaris, Jr.
Armando Bo
Michael Keaton
Zach Galifianakis
Edward Norton
Andrea Riseborough
Amy Ryan
Emma Stone
Naomi Watts
Music by:
Antonio Sánchez
Shot by:
Emmanuel Lubezki
Editing by:
Douglas Crise
Stephen Mirrione
Distributed by:
Fox Searchlight Pictures

What’s Hot

  • Acclaimed film-maker Alejandro González Iñárritu needs to accept my apologies, for , it is mighty difficult to review films without accompaniments as rudimentary as lazy labels. This extra-ordinary piece of work deserves all the lazy labelling it gets for its ideation & an impeccable execution of it.
  • Michael Keaton reinvents himself as much as he does Riggan Thomson & to cite a few noteworthy examples – his bewildered look when Mike barges in on him about the fake gun & how it hinders his performance, his faking of a disturbing past to the same Mike.
  • The role of Mike is a stroll in the park for Edward Norton, who is a good choice for enacting an over-confident stage actor who acts anywhere outside of the stage! Emma Stone, as Sam in Rehab, reminds one of anything but stone with the expressive outpouring to her father & in the terrace sequences.
  • The dialogues are profound & taken in context with the multiple layers the film offers – the combination only gets deadlier! Any two random scenes in the film can be related – The scene where Sam explains her father about how tiny humanity is can be related to the scene in which she shows the number of hits his under-wear walk garnered on YouTube.
  • The seemingly random drum background score is more than what meets the ear-drum. To understand its purpose in the film, one has to think of scenes where it is stopped, where a different sort of music plays. It offers cues to unearth a layer of the story.
  • No other film would need the director to rely as much on Cinematography & Editing as this one would – for its Single shot concept. In that sense, the work of Emmanuel Lubezki on the trolley & that of Editors Crise and Mirrione in the sets (not just the studio, sets too!) need as big a thumbs up as one can give.
  • Metaphors & symbolisms galore – A falling -star (to show the protagonist’s current situation?), jelly-fishes, Quotes stuck on bouquets and mirrors, a mask-like post-operative bandage, a flying bird-man – they are all there to add to the complexity of the puzzle that is Birdman.

What’s Not

  • The director has made an abstract film that seems as open-ended as the window where it all ends. While that is the beauty of Birdman, it also depresses the average movie-goer who actually thinks much more than the Cake & Coffee he is to have after the show. It is just that he doesn’t have enough time to decode all of what gets rolled at him before the cake & coffee take over his thoughts.
  • On a funny note, the idea that Iñárritu conveys on the easy, lazy, risk-free job of being a critic is ironically falsified by the film he has made – It is a big risk to review a film like Birdman!



Verdict Stamp

Iñárritu figuratively stirs up a hornet’s nest through a layered film that stumps us with its vision, execution & an authoritative take on things as trivial as a critic’s review to things as deep and existential as the virtues of being ignorant.