review: bird man (2014)

Alright, so I’m making my way slowly through these Oscar-nominated films. Birdman was one that I was exceptionally excited for. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to my sky-high expectations, and I’ll explain why.

Synopsis (IMDB): A washed up actor, who once played an iconic superhero, battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career and himself in the days leading up to the opening of a Broadway play.

WHAT I LIKED.

The editing and cinematography.
Of course. This was a given. I’m a sucker for gimmicks, and even though I was watching this film on my tiny, limited Macbook Pro 13″ screen, the camera movement and smooth transitions between every scene was pretty inspiring to me – as an aspiring editor. Not to mention, that MUST have taken so much thought and effort from the screenwriter. Kudos to the entire team.

Zach Galifianakis as Jake.
Wow – is all I can say about Zach Galifianakis in this film. Although I do love him as little Allan in is wolf pack of one in The Hangover, it was unbelievable seeing him breakout into a new role. I was maybe thrown off for about 2 seconds when he first appeared onscreen, but he settled into his role beautifully.

Michael Keaton as Riggan.
Keaton obviously deserves a shoutout. He carried this film very well, and the subtle undertones that he presented with his character were absolutely perfect.

WHAT I WAS ON THE FENCE ABOUT.

The plot and pacing.
I feel like I was very amazed at the acting, the editing, and the cinematography, but the storyline was average. It could have been the fact that I was too focused on the technical aspects of the film, that I didn’t pay quite as much attention to the actual story as I should have, but I just felt it moved very slow, and there were many parts within the screenplay that could have been cut out. That’s just my opinion though.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE.

The score.
It’s very rare that I will dislike a score. I generally listen (and like) all types of music – my iTunes library is a proof of this – and I typically love the scores of films, even if they aren’t overly impressive. I just love listening to music. I know this score was quite different from the average cinematic audio experience, and it was trying to give off a more eclectic vibe, but I just wasn’t having it. To be quite frank, the score in this film was giving me a headache – and not in a good way, where the headache forces me to relate more to the character and story being presented on the screen. I wanted to shut the film off at points because I couldn’t get that little beat out of my mind. Sound is a very important aspect of the film experience, and this is what brought this film down for me.

FINAL COMMENTS.

I really wish the score wasn’t so bad.

just my rating: ★★★★

Other reviews on Birdman (2014)
Five-Line Film Reviews – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)
The Welsh Horizon – Fame and its price in “Birdman”, a review
About Film and Stuff – Film of the Week: Birdman ***** (5/5)

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2 thoughts on “review: bird man (2014)

  1. Nice review, as usual! But I have to disagree with your comments on the plot and pacing, as well as the score. For me every line of dialogue and action was placed methodically. Iñárritu forces the audience (movie-goers and industry professionals alike, as I feel this is a form of introspection for the industry) to feel what each character is feeling in each moment. This is mirrored by the moment Mike Shiner takes on his role and he and Riggan are going through lines, testing out the script and Shiner’s abilities.

    In terms of the score, being a jazz lover, I thought the unaccompanied drum work by Antonio Sanchez went so well with the seamless flow of the cinematography. It was very minimalist. Birdman was probably my favourite movie of 2014, so I’m glad to hear there were elements of it that you loved :)

    • I see where you are coming from! And yes, without a doubt, it was a very well made, beautiful artwork of a film.

      Ahh yes, I’m not the biggest jazz fan, so that explains my dislike of the score.

      Thanks for the comment!!

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