Movie Reviews

DVD Review: Birdman

Genre: Comedy | Drama Directed by: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu  Starring: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone Written by: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo, Raymond Carver

Genre: Comedy | Drama
Directed by: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Starring: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone
Written by: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo, Raymond Carver



Synopsis: A washed-up actor, who once played an iconic superhero, battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career and himself in the days leading up to the opening of his Broadway play. (c)Imdb


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The movie of the year is finally out for everyone to see on DVD and Blu-ray. After sweeping the major awards on Oscar night (Best Picture, Best Director), you can now see the movie and all the behind the scenes features from the comfort of your home.


Alejandro G. Inurritu’s Birdman is a tale about the trials and tribulations of being an actor in Hollywood. It’s a story that many who are in the business can relate to. Michael Keaton plays Riggan Thompson, a former comic book action movie star of the “Birdman”. Riggan is trying to re-invent his career by doing a Broadway show. Riggan believes that in order to establish himself as a “real” artist, he must do the Broadway show. He writes, directs, and starrs in the Raymond Carver adaptation story, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. 


The story and play start unfolding when Riggan hires a supremely talented actor Mike (Edward Norton) to fill in for one of the supporting roles. Quickly Riggan becomes aware that Mike’s immense talent will steal the spotlight from him. Riggan’s problems don’t start there, his main issue aside from proving to the world that he is a natural performer, is that his Birdman alter-ego is stuck in his head. Troubles compound as additional drama arises when his out of rehab daughter arrives on set for the play duration. His ex-wife is also on location. To top it all, a co-star reveals that she might be pregnant with his kid. Life is a mess for him.Things start getting out of control when a famed critic plans to give Riggan a negative review before the show opens. His obsession to prove to the world and most importantly himself that he can succeed and be remembered for more than being Birdman sends his life into a complete tailspin that he might not be able to break apart from.


The cast of Birdman is as loaded with talented and prominent names as you will get. Michael Keaton is terrific as the haunted Riggan Thompson. He battles inner demons from scene to scene. It’s quite amazing to see an actor out of the spotlight for two decades come back with a performance of a lifetime as he enters the twilight of his career. Keaton puts on a brave (streaking through Times Square in tighty whities would qualify that) and honest performance that might define his previously successful career. It’s a big of a shame that he didn’t end up with an Oscar, he deserved it. Edward Norton steals the show in every way imaginable. He’s simply terrific in a supporting role that blossoms at every take. Norton cements his status as one of Hollywood’s finest actors. As great as Keaton’s Oscar worthy performance is, Norton’s might be even better. Emma Stone adds another impressive chapter to her astounding young career. Among the honorable mentions, Naomi Watts shows her range once again, this time in a supporting role. The ultra slimmed down Zach Galifianakis is entertaining as Jake, the co-producer-lawyer-manager-friend of Riggan.


An acting clinic between Keaton and Norton

An acting clinic between Keaton and Norton


Birdman is one of those rare unique films you don’t get to see that often. The long single shot takes are innovative and impressive. What makes it succeed is that the actors are so talented that you don’t notice the skills that it takes to film these long scenes in a single take without screwing up any lines. The drum set soundtrack that accompanies Riggan’s inner life soundtrack is repetitive, at times annoying, however it’s necessary to the characters existence. The film centers around the idea of morality and existence. An inside look at the struggles that some famous people endure and how their inner demons take over their lives. The pressure that fame brings is uncontrollable. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu does a masterful job crafting the story and its characters. Each one uniquely dealing with identity issues and working though their individual inner demons. Every featured character, main or supporting, has a complexity to them that is fascinating to uncover. You want to know what they are going to do and why are they so conflicted.


Clearly Birdman is based on Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Batman. Similar characters, and the costume is reminiscent of the one Keaton wore as Batman. Inarritu molded the film as an expression to Keaton’s experience of playing a famous comic book character. In a sense Birdman is Keaton’s professional life depicted as a dark parody. It’s a masterful take on the industry and human complexities.


The Birdman DVD Blu-ray features includes, A Conversation with Michael Keaton and Alejandro G. Inarritu is a 14 minute feature with the star of the film Keaton and director Inarritu talking about the character of the Birdman and the inspirations for the film. Birdman: All Access is a 33 minute insightful feature on the production of the film. I really enjoyed this feature. It’s a look at the making and and takes a look at the various talented actors in the film and their experience working on it. It’s a great look at the behind-the-scenes of the film, and answers a lot of questions about the film and the production of it. Gallery: Chivo’s On-Set Photography is a feature of the various on set production stills. Some cool and funny pictures showing the actors having fun on set.


Birdman can be likened to being a satirical accomplice to Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan. It is one of those rare movies that was crafted by a true visionary. The acting is supreme, with Keaton and Norton displaying some of their best work of their esteemed careers. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this film, it confuses at times with it’s supernatural elements. The fantasy and reality blends in smoothly to where I found myself trying to distinguish reality from fiction. The ending is left open to interpretation, fittingly so. This is a psychological movie that takes you on a journey to the actors souls. The depiction of the inner struggles is fascinating and sad to observe. It doesn’t lend the best message to deal with inner demons and that may be unsatisfactory for some viewers. What it does accomplish is pose a sense of reality, even though it seems fairly grim. The ending is for you to decide.


Birdman DVD – 9 out of 10! 

A warranted Best Picture of the Year 


Check it out and let me know what you think? Was the morbid theme justified? Sound off in the comments section below: 


Follow me on Twitter @JimRko


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