Written by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armanda Bo.
Directed by Alejandro Gonzalex Inarritu
Starring Michael, Keaton, Zach Galifianakis and Edward Norton, with Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Amy Ryan, Andrea Riseborough
running time: 119 minutes
I told you I would review BIRDMAN, one of the many films I am viewing this week at FILMCOLUMBIA.
Normally I would not review nor recommend a film I do not like. But there has been so much hype about this film and since it was on my list at the beginning of the week, here goes. There was a full house tonight in Chatham, NY with a palpable buzz (I think in part because of this director). Inarritu has done many outstanding films including, AMORES PERROS, BABEL, and 21 GRAMS. I loved those films but this new one is a dog (not as in Amores Perros).
For me, BIRDMAN had nothing going for it. The lead, Michael Keaton, trying to bring a faded career back to life through the theatre, is not a sympathetic character. (There is already talk of his performance in Best Actor category at the Academy Awards. What?)
We watch him for two hours, and honestly I did not care one bit if he made it or not. Inarritu it seems knows very little about comedy because the only funny scene, is the night before the play’s opening, in the middle of the final press preview, Mr. Keaton gets locked outside the theatre, before the last act, half-naked, and is forced to walk through Times Square in his jockey shorts. The only actor that really stood out for me was Emma Stone, who plays Riggan Thomson’s (Keaton) daughter. She had one scene in the movie that was a touch, a mere glimpse, of what this director can do. The rest was twaddle. I felt embarrassed for Edward Norton, this part goes in the negative column of an otherwise brilliant career.
So what I DO recommend is that you read Rex Reed’s review in The New York Observer, where he comically expresses exactly what I am feeling after wasting two hours of my valuable time. Mr. Reed called the film, “deluded crap masquerading as a black comedy”. He also says, “Never have I seen a group of actors who look more collectively like they’ve been dropped into the middle of the Mojave Desert in the middle of August wearing nothing but their underwear.” Reed also points out correctly that the geography isn’t even right with the theaters and the hotel, “it’s a mess”.