Birdman has been soaring through the blogosphere like a hallucinatory pterodactyl, heralding outrageous entertainment and smart satire of the performing arts. On official dispatch from the CTOB Global Media entertainment desk, we made our way to the Kabuki Theater on Monday night, Bud Lights in hands, an intrepid reviewer and her trusty illustrator/sidekick.
Riggan Thomas (Michael Keaton)-- once the A-List leading man of a blockbuster superhero franchise-- is gearing up for opening night on a broadway show which he wrote, directed and stars in. It is his first ever endeavor in the theater.
Inarritu uses the camera to place us in the theater with lengthy, fast paced, tightly framed shots that lead us through multiple continuous vignettes within a scene, utilizing tight choreography and precise blocking. These shots set the pace of the film in such a way that before we know it our hearts are beating on rhythm. Inarritu also presents elements of magical realism by what we first perceive to be Riggan’s imagination, or perhaps hallucinations, or maybe latent telekinesis. Either way, the visuals are terrific.
Keaton gives a powerful performance as a man-on-edge in one high risk, volatile situation after another. He is at his best when Riggan confronts his antagonists: His co star Mike, his daughter Sam, a theater critic, and the personification of Birdman himself.
Edward Norton is fantastic as Mike, a hero of the stage who arrives on set and steals the spotlight with experience, expertise, and swagger. He brings violence and sexuality to his performances, manipulating his fellow actors into reacting to him on stage and pushing Riggan to the edge of a nervous breakdown.
Emma Stone kicks some ass as Sam, Riggan's daughter. The young, recovering drug addict brings a decidedly millennial perspective to an already richly layered conversation on performance, fame, celebrity, and perceived social power in the time of YouTube- here’s lookin' at you, kid (#hereslookingatyoukid).
Here at Check This Out Babe we give Birdman a solid 99 gold stars and strongly recommend you see it as soon as you’ve got the pesos.