Review – Birdman


This review first appeared in BMA Magazine.

When Sally Field won the Oscar for best actress in 1984, she said in her acceptance speech: “I haven’t had an orthodox career and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me”.

In the entertainment industry, performers are either adored or respected. Some are lucky to have currency in both – we used to call them movie stars. Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is a superb examination of the pursuit of validation.

Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) is the former star of a popular superhero movie franchise ‘Birdman’. Thomson is trying to rebuild his career by writing, directing and starring in a play opening on Broadway. As the premiere date nears, Thomson begins to lose his grip on reality as he is agitated by critics (Lindsay Duncan), co-stars (Edward Norton, Naomi Watts and Andrea Riseborough) and his costumed alter ego.

Birdman is a twisted satire of show business set to an acid jazz drum score that’s darkly comic and completely brilliant. Keaton is incredible, as are the rest of the cast with not one shabby performance (no matter how big or small the role). Birdman cleverly deconstructs the current state of the arts and should not be missed.


Cameron Williams

The Popcorn Junkie