So the Oscars are happening and I realized I didn’t get to see nearly anything that is nominated for Best Picture. Out of everything, there were a few that I really wanted to see regardless of the nominations. ‘Birdman’, ‘Whiplash’, and ‘American Sniper’. Everything else seems interesting, but I personally don’t care about the Oscars enough to make sure I see all of them. It’s just a huge political campaign, and film is subjective. Who cares. I just watch movies for my own enjoyment. But one of the good things that come out of the Oscars is the buzz a lot of movies get. And that’s what gets me to see some of them. Knowing that there’s a huge chance I’ll love it gives me a decent reason to watch it. The Oscars to me are no more than a recommendation list, and a fun Sunday night TV special.
Now onto the review! I decided to watch ‘Birdman’ since I had an interest in it beforehand. I love Michael Keaton, and the concept seemed really cool.
This film is definitely pretty awesome. The greatest part of it, I think, is that the whole thing is shot so freaking well. Like honestly, I never say this about a movie. To me a movie either looks like it’s shot by someone who knows how to hold a camera, or by someone who gave the camera to a 4 year old and let them shake it around. I have to give this film credit for how well the camera work was. The ENTIRE movie is edited to look as if it was filmed with one shot. You follow the characters the whole time, and when another speaks, the camera follows to that person, even when they’re walking away. I really had this illusion that this whole thing was done in a single take. As if it was a stage play that was filmed live. I don’t know how they did it, and I don’t want to know either. Because for the first time ever, I can honestly say that the camera work for a film actually blew my mind. And I want to keep it that way.
The acting is great all around. I of course, loved Michael Keaton. He might be my favorite actor to play Batman still, after all these years. And that’s another awesome thing about this. The movie is truly about him. The character in the film struggles with his loss of fame after not being the Birdman for many years. Michael Keaton himself was so famous after playing Batman, and then he kind of withered away a bit. He’s still relevant, of course. But this detail added to the realism of the movie. Even Edward Norton’s character played a version of himself in this, as a method actor.
The music was totally awesome. The entire score was improvised jazz drumming. It made every scene feel upbeat, and kept things moving. The mix of this and the camera work formed such an excellent flow.
My only small issue with this movie was how ambiguous the ending was. I’m not saying ambiguous endings are bad. I like them. But usually only if there are just two scenarios to be left to think about. A good example would be ‘Inception’. You’re left wondering whether the end is a dream or reality. Very simple, two way street, but still makes your head spin. This film has a similar ending, but it seems like there are multiple scenarios. When you dig too deep into it, it begins to not make any sense at all. To me, that’s not very good. It should have been a little bit simpler. A little ambiguity is good. Too much can make you wonder why you just spent so much time watching.
I will give ‘Birdman’ an A. It is so close to a perfect film. The only reason I couldn’t get it to a perfect score is because I felt the ending was a little bit too ambiguous, but it’s still a great ending as long as you don’t think TOO hard.
Aside from that, it’s purely beautiful. This is the kind of movie that is not for everybody. People that like to watch film as an art form will eat this up. General movie goers might think it’s flat out stupid and boring, and I get that. I was somewhere in the middle, but I was definitely able to appreciate this from a filmmaking standpoint.
And Update: IT JUST WON BEST PICTURE!
My review for ‘Whiplash’ will be posted soon!