Most notably, the entire film is a single shot. Let me repeat: The entire film is a single shot. It’s incredible. As a result, the action is incredibly fluid, as if someone were simply following Riggan and his cohorts around the set. The camera becomes a character, showing you things in a way that feels completely organic and natural. It gives the movie a smooth, seamless feel. Scenes end and flow right into the next one, usually by some inciting action that the camera
“decides” to go and follow. Even though doing the entire movie in one take is practically impossible, the fact that it looks so convicing still makes the film a prime example of flawless editing and special effects. There is simply nothing like it.
Birdman is all about the dichotomy between what’s real and what’s fake. When Riggan’s attempt at staging a Broadway play makes waves in the headlines, word on the street is that he is that he is simply using his Hollywood clout to make it on Broadway. Is he genuinely passionate about theater or is this a last ditch effort to be relevant to a jaded
public? Sometimes, Riggan himself doesn’t even know. Michael Keaton is brilliant in this role, battling his demons while letting us inside his head in bizarre and sometimes disturbing ways. Also starring are Emma Stone, Zach Galifinackis, and Naomi Watts, but in my eyes, the real showstopper is Edward Norton. He plays Mike Shiner, an actor in Riggan's play who takes his devotion to the theater a little bit too far. He demands that everything be as real as possible, from the whiskey
onstage to his relationships with his fellow actors. As a foil to Riggan’s uncertainty and flakiness, Norton is brilliant.
I had the chance to talk to Alejandro González Iñárritu, writer and director of Birdman, via a roundtable phone interview. The movie has garnered criticism for embracing the fake, showy world that it makes fun of - Iñárritu has made it clear that this was intentional:
something very pretentious and very ambitious ... The wrong choices were made deliberately to
show how wrong everything will be going - it’s a train that will crash."
It’s incredibly rare that we get to see a movie like Birdman. When you watch the trailer, you’ll get a taste for the movie’s quirky, off-kilter style. It’s awkward, yet meticulous. Chaotic, yet calculated. This is a movie that needs to be seen to be believed.