Birdman review: It's like a knockout punch

  • Rashid Irani, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 31, 2015 14:28 IST

Film: Birdman
Cast: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Rating: 4.5/5

Part intense drama, part dark comedy, the fifth feature by the Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu delivers the cinematic equivalent of a knockout punch.

Two decades after his success in the titular superhero trilogy, a former celebrity (Keaton, whose own career nose-dived after Batman Returns, 1992) decides to
make a comeback by writing, directing and starring in a Broadway production of Raymond Carver’s short story. In the days leading up to the opening night, the protagonist begins to lose his grip on reality. Things go from bad to worse when a temperamental thespian is cast as the secondary lead. The delusional star also has to contend with frayed family relationships in the form of his long-suffering ex-wife and their brash, rehab-hopping daughter.

There are struggles to quell the visions of the eponymous alter-ego who chides the ageing actor about his artistic aspirations. Alternating between emotionallycharged scenes and flights of fancy, the script satirizes show business in general and Hollywood in particular. For the most part of its two hours run time, the wholly unique Birdman soars.

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