I liked Birdman, but not the way critics did. It features a tour de force both in its performances and production, a film executed in whirlwind non-stop frenetic fashion that will hold you from start to finish. It deserves high accolades for its successes. But I found the story too monotone, or put another way Birdman has trouble breaking free of its self-imposed Alcatraz. So for all its virtues, my mantra is: story matters. It matters more than anything else, and when it is constricted so is the end result.
Part of my problem with this movie also lies in its marketing and primary trailer, which I think misrepresent the film as more of a superhero tale, and less one of the mad scramble of a man on the edge, fighting for survival while exorcising his demons. Both Crazy Heart and The Wrestler better illustrated this dynamic.
But the movie-making virtuosity of Birdman is astonishing. It’s one of those rare films I wouldn’t mind watching again someday, just to study the technique. And one last note: I recommend Birdman, but it’s not for everybody — a good number of people will be flatly turned off. 7/10
If you watch the trailer, you’ll want to see Birdman. Below is a more representative sampling.