Winged man fails to soar

Birdman
English (A) ***
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Cast: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Andrea Riseborough, Naomi Watts

Birdman, the seven-Oscar nominee and critics’ favourite, is plain pretentious. All sound and fury, it suffers from verbal diarrhoea and has expletives galore. And the viewers pay dearly for “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance” — which incidentally is the film’s extended title.

Birdman fails audiences who are drawn by the belief that an Oscar-nominated film is must-do fare. Birdman is not, despite its ostentatious claims of being a soul searching and searing account of a comic book crusader.

Having lost his mojo, Birdman seeks to wing his way to former idolatry by writing, staring in, and directing the Broadway play What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, a short story by Raymond Carver.

It is played out within the confines of Broadway Stage, furiously flitting in and out of dressing rooms, aisles and dark corridors.

With Birdman, acclaimed Mexican Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu — known for his emotive dramas Amores Perros, 21 Grams, and Babel — seeks an encore. Here, he loses handle, trying to provide an art-house feel to his black psychological and neurotic study of a Birdman, aka Riggan Thomson, who valiantly fights his alter-ego on personal, professional and physical fronts. As Emmanuel Labezki’s fluid camerawork provides a surrealistic ambience to the rambunctious drama, Birdman turns out into a vertigo-induced vitriolic raving.  Ambiguous and inaccessible, Birdman, despite its set piece design and overtly cinematic devices, is self-defeating. Quite like its hero, trying to overcome the pathos of his existence to reach the Elysian heights he once habited.

As you exit Birdman, its opening lines haunt you: How did you end up here? This place is horrible. Smells like b…s..t (why were) we put in this s..t h..e.  

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