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Friday, October 10, 2014

BIRDMAN


By D.E.Levine

In a strange occurrence of art following life, Michael Keaton, long absent from the film scene, came down from his ranch in Montana to star in a new film about resurrecting the career of a former film action hero.  Absent from the cinema scene for some time, Keaton gives a marvelously creative, poignant and comical performance, proving he hasn't lost any of his talent and/or timing.

As you'll remember, Keaton was a successful portrayer of Batman in a box office money maker and he gave it up and left Hollywood to go take care of personal matters in his private life.

In this film, Riggain Thomsom (Michael Keaton) played Birdman and is now a washed up movie star hoping to resurrect his career and achieve new fame and notoriety by producing and starring in a play in the famous St. James Broadway theater.  This is his last chance and the consistent appearance of his alter ego, his winged action hero Birdman, who voices his fears and increasingly causes him to doubt himself.

Of course, there's a wonderful script with many twists and turns, a great supporting cast, and imaginative cinematography.  Working in close quarters in the St. James, some of the takes are 20 minutes long and filmed continuously while the cameraman follows the actors up and down the back staircases and around the narrow corridors.  The action seemingly never stops and for two hours the viewer feels he/she is watching one single take.

The visual effect is due to cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and director Alejandro G. Innaritu, with an assist from the stunning original score by Antonio Sanchez.

There's also a great deal for the audience to think about.  What is real and what is imagined? Sometimes things blur and it's hard to keep track but the film moves swiftly along and is really a blast that shouldn't be missed.