Home ContentMovie Review: Birdman

Movie Review: Birdman

Published : April 01, 2015

Birdman is a must-see multi-award winning - including Best Picture at the 2015 Oscars - black comedy

Reviewed by Alfindy Agyputri

Movie Title    : Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Directed by    : Alejandro González Iñárritu

Produced by  : Alejandro González Iñárritu,  John Lesher, Arnon Milchan, and James W Skotchdopole

Written by     : Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., and Armando Bo

Release date  : January 15, 2015

Running time : 119 minutes

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is an American black comedy film about a man named Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) who works in Broadway theater to direct his own script and also stars in it.

The story follows this former Hollywood actor who struggles to build up his new career, moving on from his previous successful life in three blockbuster movies as an iconic superhero Birdman. He goes through so many things to reach his goal, including humiliation, injuries, and conflicts – between Riggan and his family, workmates, best friend, girlfriend, and even internal conflict with himself.

The movie title gives impression that this will be a superhero movie, or so the audience would expect, but after the movie starts, the audience will realize that it is not. It is more about a struggling life of a former superhero icon. Initially, it looks like the main character does have a super power which he tries to restrain. But as the movie goes, there will be questions about his true power – If he really has one, and if he gives it up to live a ‘normal’ life. The way the movie is filmed seems to intend those questions, to grow curiosity within the audience’s mind.

What makes this film even more unique and interesting is the way it is constructed. The film is edited to be a continuous long take, which means there are no significant cuts from one shot to another shot. The camera keeps following the characters around from one room to another, from one place to another. It makes it feel dynamic. The audience would be free to look around the setting, feeling like they are on the location. Even though the film basically sets in the theatre building, sometimes on the street or a bar nearby, but there are not many places to see. It is not its focus. It is more to the character development and chemistry. With the camera following them around, which also puts more focus on the expression of the characters, the audience would have chance to go deeper into the relationships in the film.

The casts play their roles really well. They make the characters believable and real. The black comedy works well, too. The main character goes through humiliation after humiliation, most of them are silly. Some of the twists are quite entertaining as well, with its expected unpredictability. You somehow know it is coming, but you are not fully sure what will really happen. Especially the ending, it is exceptional. It does not show what really happen, so it does not direct the audience on how to interpret the ending. It is almost like an open ending where the audience is free to make up their own conclusion on how the film really ends.


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