It’s taken me forever to see Birdman. This happens when you live in an area that does not have a super robust arts community.
So let me just say this: Birdman is easily my favorite movie of all of 2014. In fact, it might be one of my favorite movies of all time. I won’t give you a long and drawn out review, that’s because I want you to rush out and see this movie now.
We’ve seen the long-take trick before, perhaps most notably in Hitchcock’s 1948 chamber thriller Rope, which masked five of its 10 cuts by slinking in close to its cast. But in Birdman, the effect’s entirely different. Working with the great cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, director Alejandro González Iñárritu turns the film into a high-wire act – live, unpredictable, light as air, yet also fatalistically locked on course. While it’s going on, you’re glued to the impossibility of what you’re seeing. Once it’s over, you can’t believe what you saw.
Yet Birdman isn’t a piece of empty showmanship. It’s a piece about empty showmanship, and its unhinged premise – a fairground-mirror image of the career of its leading man (Michael Keaton), who starred in Tim Burton’s two mega-grossing Batman films then quit the franchise on principle – couldn’t have been told in a smarter way. It’s a beautiful, moving, captivating film.
Treat yourself now: either go see it in a theater or watch it digitally (since it’s now available). It’s worth the money. You’ll thank me.