Birdman (fully titled Birdman, or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is an upcoming film that, over but a few months, has gone from having little buzz to getting a whole lot of pre-release attention. Credit for that belongs to the very enthusiastic early reviews and a pair of attention-grabbing trailers, teasing a film with interesting (and timely) subject matter brought to life and examined through some very ambitious stylistic choices… plus a couple of frequently half-naked men past middle-age, it would seem.
For those who’re just tuning in, Birdman stars Michael Keaton in the meta-role of a former superhero movie actor, who’s now attempting to resurrect his career by writing, directing, and starring in an off-Broadway play. However, we suspect that there’s more to this movie than a darkly-comical examination of a faded superstar’s ego; the film was co-written and directed by Oscar-nominee Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, Biutiful), who’s never been one to think small, as a director.
Here’s what Keaton told the LA Times, with regard to what Birdman has to offer filmgoers.
“I’ve got to tell you: This is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of role. You spend your whole career waiting for your pitch, hoping you’ll be ready when it comes because you don’t get something like this again. Let me put it another way: I’ve seen this movie 2½ times. And I never see my movies. That’s how much I admire what Alejandro has done here.”
The big thing, from a technical perspective, is that Birdman was filmed as a series of sequence shots (read: scenes done in one long take) designed by Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity) and then edited together by Oscar-nominee Douglas Crise (Spring Breakers) as well as Oscar-winner Stephen Mirrione (The Hunger Games), in order to create the illusion that the whole movie was shot as a single, uninterrupted take.
Judging by the early reviews, their efforts payed off, and Birdman is a film that feels very much alive and in the moment, while still retaining that feel of being a motion picture that was precisely crafted and photographed. For an early taste of what the final movie result is like, check out the Birdman image gallery below (via Indiewire), followed by the latest poster (via Vulture).
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Birdman, as the poster above highlights, features a noteworthy supporting cast that includes Emma Stone as Keaton’s disaffected daughter; Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, and Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion) as the participants in Keaton’s ill-advised off-Broadway production; Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone) as Keaton’s concerned ex-wife; and Zach Galifianakis as Keaton’s (more than a little) flustered producer, on his adventure into the world of theater.
In short: right now, just about everything about this film sounds either great and/or interesting enough (to use, anyway) to warrant giving the movie a look when it arrives in theaters. Feel free and let us know your own thoughts on the matter, in the comments section of this article.
Birdman, or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance opens in U.S. theaters on October 17th, 2014.