Birdman – Beyond the Masked Crusader
Yesterday, after almost six months, Jo and I went to a movie. It was a late evening show of “Birdman” playing at Inox, a multiplex in a multistoried building that literally has you going up in circles to park your car. Frankly, this narrow winding route to the top gives me the shivers but since this movie won the Oscar for the Best Picture (2015), I thought it worth risking the palpitations I’d have to face while making the dizzying, downward, spiral journey on the way back.
I’m probably the last person on this planet watching this movie so perhaps a recap of the story is irrelevant. However, for those who like me, this movie traces the angst of a down and out Hollywood actor Riggen Thomson, who is now making a comeback via a Broadway production of a story by Raymond Carver whose handwritten note praising Riggen’s performance in a High School production had a deep on Riggen’s choice of career.
Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Riggen is nothing short of brilliant as are the other actors. Billed as a dark comedy, I didn’t really find anything remotely funny despite some very clever lines, jibes at the virtual world and the “walk in the underpants” scene that Riggan has to go through in order to re-enter the theatre after he accidentally locks himself out, but I was disturbed by the constant badgering by Riggen’s alter-ego the Birdman to give up his Broadway dream and go back to Hollywood where he really belongs. The film has some stunning special effects but the story is pretty much stereotypical : a fading star making a last stab at stardom, a faithful friend, an estranged wife, a daughter who is back from rehab, an acerbic theatre critic and other actors with their insecurities and neuroses.
The narrative is slick and engaging despite the violent outbursts of temper that Riggen is prone to, and, of course, the language which can get too foul to handle. Frankly the end (which was hardly surprising considering Riggen’s paranoia) came as a relief.
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