Saturday, February 7, 2015

[Movie] Artist, Reality, and 'Birdman'

When I first saw Birdman trailer off the Youtube, I thought it going to an action movie. The trailer did show a flying man in a superhero-bird-like costume. Turn out its not. Birdman, or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, is a black comedy drama film starring Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Adrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, and Naomi Watts.

Now, this movie receive a very positive receptions from everybody and got a lot of nomination and awards, and then some more. Well, I suppose not everybody share the same taste. Don't get me wrong though. In a way, the movie was good. But its not the kind of movie that you'll watch for re-run or for family fun entertainment. In fact, this movie would probably appeal very much to you if you can relate to its content.
The movie is an adaptation to Raymond Carver story about once-a-famous-actor who trying to do something for himself but the pressure around him starting to make him lose the grip on reality. The movie was just, surreal. In this movie, Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) was once a superstar who famous for his role as a superhero called Birdman.

Somewhere at the point of his life, Riggan leave the Birdman franchise and decided to make something out for himself. But the Birdman popularity preceded his very own existence which frustrated him incredibly. Possibly a way to escape from the harshness of reality, he have this moments whenever he's alone with his thought, he would have the Birdman materialized out of thin air to talk and taunt him, telling him that people recognize him as Birdman and not the other way around.

He had a daughter, Sam (Emma Stone), who is a recovering addict and now live and work with him in the theater. To make matter worse, his daughter hated him. He also had spend all his fortune to acquire a theater in Broadway where he thought he could direct a play involving himself. To make matter worse, people didn't take him seriously as the public seem to be more interested about his former role as the Birdman.

Although he had a loyal friend, Jake (Zach Galifianakis), as his producer and attorney, it wasn't enough to keep off the pressure from directing the play. Things took a turn when Mike Shiner (Edward Norton) came by and agreed to join his production. However, Mike was crazy. He's a method actor, but he's crazy. And that doesn't help when Mike told Riggan that in Broadway, no matter how great a play in the theater, its the theater critic that will decide the outcome.

Riggan approached one of the top theater critic, Tabitha Dickinson (Lindsay Duncan), to understand the people and possible audiences' expectations, only to be insulted. Apparently Tabitha didn't really care about the play whether or not its good, only to be spiteful. She really hated celebrity, and Riggan was shocked to know the full extent what about to come. Especially when Tabitha explicitly told Riggan that she will 'kill' his play with a negative review.

Almost losing himself, but thanks to Jake's non-stop emotional support to him urm.. by lying, Riggan brace himself to perform the play on the opening night. Differently from the preview that he had performed before, in one of the scene where his character shot himself, he used a real gun and blew his own nose off. The crowd goes crazy, and Tabitha was seen running away from her seat.

Riggan didn't die however, he recovered back in the hospital and had his nose fixed. He later learned that Tabitha had given his play a very positive review and his popularity shot up sky high. Jake was super excited with the turnout because they did really bad during the preview night but it appeared that their opening night was a success, but Riggan's ex-wife was worried with Riggan's state of mind. They both had an argument about whether or not the incident was attempted suicide or an accident, but later both left Riggan alone to recuperate.

Sam came in afterward to console his dad while bringing his dad a flower bouquet. Riggan smell the flower, but he can't smell it, because his nose was damaged. Sam left his father to find a container to hold the flower, and Riggan rise up from his bed, and slowly walk to the window to peek the outside view. He climb up the window, and when Sam get back into the room, his dad was gone. Forever immortalizing Riggan's work on the play at the peak of its popularity, with his name etched to it.

Now, the movie might seem tedious and boring to some people. Not to mention that, there was this perpetual drumming sound in the background. But the movie still contain a real and strong message. For example, I find it ironic that after he had lost his sense of smelling, his daughter came by to visit him and bring him a bouquet of flower, where if you watched the movie, at the beginning, Sam hated when his dad wanted her to buy him a flower. And his ex-wife.. Hmmph.. So, yeah.. this film is very deep indeed.


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