Saturday, March 4, 2017

1025. Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

We now come to perhaps the most pretentious film on the entire List.  It's a big claim and in the comments section you will probably prove me wrong.  But come on.  Deal with that title for a moment.

Riggan Thomson is an actor famous for portraying Birdman, an iconic superhero.  He decides to reinvent himself by writing, directing, and starring in a Broadway play based on a Raymond Carver short story.  Riggan's daughter, Sam, a recovering drug addict, works as his assistant.  He frequently clashes with Mike Shiner, his method actor costar.  Oh yeah, and he is kind of going insane.

Basically, this film just rubbed me the wrong way.  I get that it was supposed to be a homage to Godard, but did Godard ever seem this affected and self-indulgent?  If he did, I don't remember.  Even the in-joke that St. James' theatre being crummy, when it is actually a really nice venue (get it?  How droll) prove that this film was not meant to be accessible to the average movie-goer.

I did enjoy a few scenes; I thought Edward Norton and Emma Stone had great chemistry.  But overall, I thought this movie was too snobby, even for me.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Contains only sixteen visible cuts.

The ending apparently came to the director in a dream.  I'm going to throw my neck out if they keep making me roll my eyes this hard.


  1. Oh, how I hate this film. Don't take me wrong I can see the serious effort in editing to make it look like a long take and also the good performances of Keaton and Stone; but it so out of touch with reality... It's the kind of story you would come up with in the fifties. An play actor terrified by a renown critic. Really? Who is still listening to critics these days. There is not any Roger Ebert who could destroy or launch a film or a play by writing some lines. People today rely more on Twitter and recommendation-based sites than in great opinion leaders.

    But above all, I hate the fact that the Academy choose this film over Boyhood, a film that was way more original, more relevant and more fresh and up-to-date than this one. Also, Boyhood topped every ranking made that year. Seriously, it was outrageous.

  2. I think I will have to disagree with you both on this one as I thought this film was completely brilliant. I maybe am being daft here but how is it pretentious? (It’s a serious question as I was really surprised that was your verdict!) It’s not exactly attempting to be high brow in anyway. A simple story about a man putting everything he has into this make or break play while arguing with his superhero alter ego…what’s not to love haha! I get that it’s extremely self aware, but I didn’t think it took itself too seriously in any way. The performances were fantastic. The shooting of it was just ridiculously good. The film is like a big creative explosion. I’ve never seen anything quite like it for shots. I love the director, 21 Grams is one of my absolute favourites and I love his other films I’ve seen.

    So now I of course accept that people will hate this film, and I can see that it might not be everyone’s cup of tea…but Boyhood for Best Picture??? Noooo! The thought makes me shudder Alex :D Wouldn’t that have just been the dullest Best Picture winner ever? When I went to see Boyhood I was pretty excited for it, I thought it sounded great! And then we meet the kid who is the star. And I realised we were going to have to follow him as he grew up and unfortunately (in my opinion of course) there was nothing interesting about him. So I am wondering how this could be seen as more original than Birdman?? Yes the whole shooting it over the years was an interesting concept but it's really just a coming of age, slice of life kind of story. Which is not a criticism but it's hardly groundbreaking.

    And just one last point...the point about Birdman being out of touch with reality...isn't the parts of it that are meant to be? Afterall, he is out of touch, he knows he is. He's desperately trying to find a way of succeeding but he feels irrelevant. He's told he is irrelevant by his daughter who basically says he's noone as he mocks Twitter and doesn't have Facebook (I'm paraphrashing obviously as it's a while since I watched it). But although he might be out of touch the film isn't as it's about human emotions and they are never gonna get old fashioned, wants and needs, wanting acceptance and love and validation and all that jazz ;)

  3. I did not like this film at all. I didn't care about anyone and went to bed half way through. I did not ask my husband to tell me the ending the next morning. So, I don't have much to add, but I agree with the viewers who found it pretentious and boring. The end.

  4. Sorry Ashley, (please don't feel 'got at' by us all), but after some thought, I'm joining the majority. I sat through this because I felt I had to, not because I enjoyed it. I'm going to use up a lot of any cred I may have by admitting a lot of the references, homages etc I missed, because, well, I'm afraid I just didn't care, I couldn't be bothered to work them out.

    1. me either but with me I don't think I have the knowledge to realise ie haven't seen enough of who he is referencing so I wouldn't have picked up on it! Haha oh no of course not, i jus tthink it's interesting hearing different opinions :D

  5. Alex, didn't even think about the critic thing but your comment made me laugh out loud. I guess I thought it was pretentious because of the actors involved, the decision to make it into one take (which didn't seem like it contributed anything; I felt like it was done just so they could say they did it) and the ending. Mostly it was just a vibe. And I thought it was pretty dull. Glad you liked it though! Can't comment on Boyhood, as I have never seen it.

    1. Haha yes well soemtimes you can't even put your finger on why just is!!