BIRDMAN DVD (2014)
SYNOPSIS: Determined to prove that he's a true artist, has-been movie superhero Riggan Thomson risks everything to finance a Broadway show. Now, as he grapples with inner and outer critics, a deranged alter ego, his estranged daughter and a temperamental stage star. Thomson aims to soar above mediocrity.
There’s no better actor than Michael Keaton to assume the role of Riggan Thomson, a washed-up Hollywood actor whose rise to fame was playing a superhero, Birdman. The older viewers will definitely remember Keaton playing Batman in the Tim Burton movies before his fallen star power over the decades.
Constantly tormented by his alter ego, Riggan is feeling the stress of financing and staging his very first Broadway play. Adding to his problems is a difficult, method co-star Mike Shiner (Edward Norton), his wayward daughter, Sam (Emma Stone) and a fearsome theater critic, Tabitha Dickson (Lindsay Duncan). Will the insecure Hollywood actor Riggan Thomson survive the harsh realities of theater?
Co-written and directed by Mexican helmer Alejandro G. Inarritu (Babel, Biutiful), Birdman takes a witty, philosophical look at one man’s mid-life crisis. There’s nothing more fitting and interesting than having a Hollywood actor for a lead character since they are rich, famous and often termed to be egoistic. The story takes a jab at all these issues and even the actors themselves. In real life, Edward Norton is often perceived as a difficult actor to work with and his Mike Shiner is one hell of a prick. Tantrums, hard-on and flirts, this is one actor you want to stay far off in your production.
Keaton’s performance is incredible. It’s kind of wretched to watch him sort of playing himself though he has confessed he didn’t take it personally when Inarritu showed him the script. There’s something that is truly remarkable about Keaton because you simply couldn’t see somebody else inheriting the role of Riggan. He is so compelling on a number of levels and he should have gotten Best Actor for Birdman.
Other co-stars worth mentioning includes Naomi Watts as a first-time Broadway actress and also tortured girlfriend of Mike, Zach Galifianakis as Riggan’s lawyer and best friend and Andrea Riseborough as Riggan’s girlfriend. The movie is also technically brilliant with the intended usage of long takes as conceived by Inarritu and acclaimed cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity) and surprisingly on-location shooting notably Keaton’s character walking in his underwear through Times Square.
Birdman might not appeal to everyone’s cinematic taste but for an original movie (which is not based on any existing property not even comics) that bursts with so much energy, comedy and drama, you can’t get anything better than this.
Birdman: All-Access is an informative 30 minutes feature that takes viewers behind-the-scenes of the shooting process. There are also rehearsal footages, cast interviews and thoughts from the director and actors.
Photo stills are available on Gallery: Chivo's On Set Photography.
Courtesy of acclaimed cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman looks prim and proper and marvelously wonderful on DVD. Even for the soundtrack, the audio is clean, immersive and filled with believable ambient effects.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee