Bold film takes flight and nails it

Kapi-Mana News - - MOVIES -

It’s not of­ten a film ex­ceeds all ex­pec­ta­tions as well as Bird­man (or The Un­ex­pected Virtue Of Ig­no­rance) does.

Writer- di­rec­tor Ale­jan­dro Gon­za­lez Inar­ritu’s am­bi­tious, fan­tas­ti­cal black com­edy is about 9 mil­lion times bet­ter than you’ve heard.

In fact, it’s en­tirely pos­si­ble you won’t see a bet­ter main­stream film this year.

And that’s de­spite it be­ing only Jan­uary, and the sound skew­er­ing the film gives crit­ics and art crit­i­cism.

The crit­i­cism in ques­tion is aimed at washed-up movie star Rig­gan Thomp­son ( Michael Keaton), who we meet in the midst of a bizarre midlife cri­sis.

Pos­si­bly suf­fer­ing from hal­lu­ci­na­tions, but des­per­ate to prove him­self and re­con­nect with his es­tranged fam­ily, Rig­gan is pro­duc­ing a Broad­way play in the hope of re­claim­ing some of his for­mer glory and a lit­tle cred­i­bil­ity.

How­ever, plagued by the ghosts of his cre­ative past – specif­i­cally the sneer­ing voice of a su­per­hero called Bird­man he once played to huge box-of­fice ac­claim way back in the 1990s – and his per­sonal demons/ego, it’s no easy task.

When the play’s in­com­pe­tent lead­ing man is knocked out cold by what ap­pears to be Rig­gan’s bur­geon­ing su­per pow­ers, he’s forced to re­place him with su­per­star of the stage, Mike Shiner (Ed­ward Nor­ton).

Shiner’s more-than-healthy ego is a com­bat­ive match for Rig­gan’s and the two set about al­ter­nately bol­ster­ing and skew­er­ing each other on the rocky road open­ing night.

Cir­cling the pair are Rig­gan’s trou­bled, bril­liant daugh­ter, Sam (Emma Stone) and a jaunty cast of oth­ers who have their own rea­sons for want­ing the play to fly or fall.

Bird­man is a brave, funny, satire that neatly nails pre­ten­sion, art and celebrity with­out sac­ri­fic­ing any of its hu­man­ity.

That’s down to a raft of ex­quis­ite per­for­mances, the likes of which Woody Allen can only dream of, and the tech­ni­cal skills of a di­rec­tor at the height of his pow­ers.

Bird­man re­ally takes flight when Keaton uses his real life su­per pow­ers: the abil­ity to leap from absurdist hu­mour to sub­tly mov­ing pathos in a sin­gle line, and ab­so­lute fear­less­ness.

Bird­man was clearly made specif­i­cally for Keaton.

I can’t think of many 60-yearold ac­tors who would let them­selves be as vul­ner­a­ble as he is fre­quently in Bird­man though, with only a pair of Jockey’s be­tween him and our scorn.

If Inar­ritu per­haps be­labours the point in a me­an­der­ing sec­ond half, that’s the only crit­i­cism I can give a film as bold and bonkers as this.

Bot­tom line: flock to it.

Mind games: Michael Keaton plays a washed up ac­tor Rig­gan Thomp­son, plagued by his past but des­per­ate to re­gain his for­mer glory, in Bird­man.

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