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or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
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A fading actor best known for his portrayal of a popular superhero attempts to mount a comeback by appearing in a Broadway play. As opening night approaches, his attempts to become more altruistic, rebuild his career, and reconnect with friends and family prove more difficult than expected.

Release Date:August 27, 2014
MPAA Rating:12
Genres:Drama, Comedy
Production Co.:Worldview Entertainment, New Regency Pictures, TSG Entertainment, Le Grisbi Productions, M Productions
Production Countries:United States of America
Director:Alejandro González Iñárritu, Eva Z. Cabrera
Writers:, , ,
Casts:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Plot Keywords:times square, superhero, long take, new york city, play, broadway, actor
Alternative Titles:
  • Birdman: or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) - [US]
  • Birdman - A Inesperada Virtude Da Ignorância - [BR]
  • Birdman ou (A Inesperada Virtude da Ignorância) - [PT]
  • Birdman avagy a mellőzés meglepő ereje - [HU]
  • مرد پرنده ای - [IR]
  • Birdman - The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance - [AU]
  • 鳥人 - [TW]
  • Birdman o la inesperada virtud de la ignorancia - [MX]
  • 버드맨 - [KR]

Birdman Reviews

  • Excellent actors in search of a good story
    by Andrew Terhune on 1 November 2014

    886 out of 1565 people found the following review useful:

    I left feeling that I had wasted two hours of my life, and I'm not the type who watches pop features like Rocky XVII. I enjoy the art house genre that this clearly belongs to. I don't know if this is a spoiler alert or not, but if you're waiting for the moment when the loose ends are all tied together in any coherent manner, you will be waiting in vain. That said, Michael Keaton and the cast give wonderful if sometimes overacted performances. You can see why critics like it - it's not the pap that they are forced to view day in and day out because it's their job to watch it. Professional critics, for their own sanity, grasp at any opportunity to promote something different or unusual. But just because it's good for them doesn't make it good for us, the casual movie goer. Since this is a play within a movie that is set in a theater, I got the feeling that there are inside jokes that those in or familiar with the business (such as critics) will get but which is over the heads the audience.

  • At least the public knew to stay away from this
    by grumpy-3 on 9 January 2015

    632 out of 1114 people found the following review useful:

    A bunch of very good actors, all wasted in an indulgent pretentious script, and even more indulgent and pretentious directing. the pseudo arts use of a drum soundtrack, the long boring hand held tracking shot, oh look i am doing all this in one take. the absolutely stupid plot, that takes ages to go nowhere, a film where the film maker is saying very loudly and in a very boring way, look how clever i am, why this has been praised by critics is beyond me. Actually to be honest i have now long given up on what critics say and write about a film. Virtually critic on both sides of the Atlantic seem to have lost any sense of what is good or bad. The amount of critically endorsed films that i have thought to be not bad but very bad seems to be growing each year. i have been a serious movie goer for some time now. i also have noticed that after a year or so these lauded films seem to get reconsidered , where the original praise is vastly reduced.

  • It's satire people!
    by apbryant on 24 February 2015

    443 out of 746 people found the following review useful:

    I have to say I am shocked and how many bad reviews I have seen on this site for this movie. It seems to me that the majority of moviegoers who have chosen to review here are only capable of viewing a movie at face value.

    This movie is clearly a satirical look at Hollywood and the constant need to remain relevant in the entertainment industry.

    I will admit that the film does appear unnecessarily "artsy" in places, but some Hollywood actors love being unnecessarily artsy as they think it gives them depth.

    That was the entire point of this film, for Hollywood to turn the camera on itself and expose all of it's own crap.

    What I took from this film is what I have always felt about Hollywood, which is also what I love about it. Actors are inherently insecure, which is why they choose to be in an industry where there is a need for constant approval. The actors who are worth their salt risk everything to For that they will forever have my respect.

    Definitely worth watching and worthy of it's Best Picture Oscar.

  • True Definition Of A Masterpiece
    by Calum Rhys on 1 January 2015

    298 out of 498 people found the following review useful:

    Whilst viewing 'Birdman', I spent the first hour of the film trying to decipher my emotions and opinions towards it, what I was watching was a weird, yet wonderful work of art. Truly though, 'Birdman' is a technical masterpiece. Michael Keaton has generally been undermined as an actor (despite a few notable roles as Batman or Beetlejuice) and has instead faced Hollywood picking more acclaimed and popular actors, 'Birdman' however might just be his ticket to an Oscar nomination, and possibly even a win, his performance is mesmerising. Alejandro González Iñárritu has created a truly spectacular character study that arguably features this year's strongest acting performances, alongside a well- executed script, booming soundtrack and a monumental achievement with cinematography from Emmanuel Lubezki in which he attempts a Hitchcockian approach, reminiscent of 'Rope', and displays the story through a seemingly single and unbroken sweeping shot. This is the true definition of a masterpiece.

  • Make it stop!
    by 3acts on 6 December 2014

    511 out of 931 people found the following review useful:

    Ha! Where to start?

    First of all, I am not a professional critic but I do work in the entertainment business. I am not motivated by politics or corporate positioning and have no vested interest in this or other films competing in the current marketplace. With that said, this is a pretentious experiment that only daft art school students and guilty "professional" critics can appreciate. Fans of the theater will find it amusing for the first hour until it begins to feel like Ground Hog Day meets All That Jazz, orchestrated by Paul Thomas Anderson's nails on a chalkboard.

    Performances: Exactly what you would expect from talented actors but the fun ends there.

    Creativity: A one trick pony, think Hitchcock's Rope without the fun, that will make you want to get the heck out of the "theater". Keep in mind, you need to avoid seeing this if you get motion sickness. Cotton mouth, here it comes!

    Execution: As an example of what can be done in and around a Broadway theater, with a "single" take, it succeeds only as an experimental museum piece. Even then, most folks would walk out before the end.

    It's one of the most pointless, sluggish, and taxing experiences you will have in the theater.

  • Waste Of Two Hours
    by Mike Boyd on 19 January 2015

    446 out of 807 people found the following review useful:

    Yes, I know - it's "arty-farty" and if you don't appreciate the ridiculously long takes then you are a Philistine.

    I'm proud to be a Philistine.

    I kept waiting for something to happen. It didn't.

    I kept wondering: "how did they get the camera that was on the roof looking up at the building at night, to then see it in daytime and then slowly go down to the street and backwards through a metal grill and through a window and then..."

    Sorry, where was I? Oh, yes, what was the plot again? Forget the plot. just look at all the long takes and the arty-farty "actoring" going on.

    Sometimes I just wish I could sue these people for wasting 2 hours of my life.

  • "Art" vs. Commercial Success is the one-joke idea this overrated claptrap attempts to mine, ad infinitum
    by Turfseer on 23 October 2014

    475 out of 868 people found the following review useful:

    "Birdman" is the latest overpraised and over-hyped "art" film by the acclaimed director Alejandro González Iñárritu. Michael Keaton, who was known for playing Batman in the late 80s and early 90s, is cast here as Riggan Thomson, a washed-up Hollywood actor, once famous for playing a superhero Birdman character in the movies, now making a comeback on Broadway, acting in an adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story.

    The entire film is shot as if it's one long take in a cinema verité style. Perhaps the best thing about the film is the behind-the-scenes peek at the technical aspects of a Broadway theater production. Initially, the narrative takes the form of a black comedy in which we're asked to laugh at the denizens of the theatrical world, all of whom are depicted as deeply flawed.

    Riggan's big fault is that he's deeply ashamed of "selling out" years earlier when he took on his superhero role. But now, by attempting to mount a "serious" Broadway play, he has a chance to redeem himself. But his Birdman persona keeps appearing in the form of a disembodied voice (and later hallucinations), telling him that he will fail. The idea that there are those performers who believe that "art" is anathema to commercial success, is mocked incessantly throughout the film, but we get the joke early on, and eventually it becomes tiresome.

    When the lead actor in the play is mysteriously knocked out by a falling stage light, Riggan is desperate to find a replacement, since previews are about to begin. At first the well known "method" actor, Mike Shiner (Edward Norton), appears to be a godsend that will save the show; but soon it becomes apparent that Mike is exceptionally unstable. We're supposed to laugh at a character who gets drunk during his first rehearsal and later attempts to rape one of the female actors while they're on stage, lying on a bed, under the covers, before an audience who misinterprets the scene as comic.

    Later, in a bar, Mike puts Riggan down further by pointing out that the napkin that was given to Riggan and signed by Raymond Carver, was given to him in a bar while he, Carver, was drunk. Mike tells Riggan that he's too untalented for Broadway and introduces him to Tabitha, the vicious Times critic, who later tells Riggan that she'll never give him a good review because anyone who sells out to Hollywood can never do anything good in the "legitimate" theater. The negative Times critic is just another example of the exaggerated caricatures sprinkled throughout the film, which simply aren't funny (a more realistic portrait of theater people should highlight both their positive and negative attributes!).

    Also in the mix is Riggan's daughter, Sam (Emma Stone), who has just been released from rehab for drug abuse. Riggan receives a double dose of humiliation: first when he is locked out of the theater in his underwear and is forced to perform before the audience almost au naturel and later when he discovers the slimy Mike, has had sex with his daughter.

    By the time we experience the "twist" of a "happy ending" at the denouement, there's nothing left for the audience to laugh at, since Mr. Iñárritu has smugly shot down all of his straw men caricatures. Riggan "triumphs" first when he blows off his nose with a gun loaded with live ammunition and Tabitha then gives him a favorable review, dubbing the performance an exercise in "ultra-realism." His new prosthetic nose appears to resemble Birdman's, and Iñárritu has Riggan fly away, now self-actualized, having had a Broadway hit.

    The whole idea that commercial success and "art" is mutually exclusive is not borne out by reality. Even Riggan acknowledges that actors like Robert Downey Jr. can be successful in both worlds. So basically "Birdman" becomes a silly, "one-joke" idea, not based on reality nor worth hammering down our throats, ad infinitum.

  • One star and that's for Keaton's effort
    by aharmas on 10 December 2014

    442 out of 818 people found the following review useful:

    There's always a slot for a movie every calendar year for the one film that everyone praises but hardly anyone understands, likes, or comes close to fathom why it receives such accolades. "Birdman" and its entire cast and crew (with the exception of Keaton) have taken that spot, dislodging "Boyhood" out of this position. Still, "Boyhood" had Ethan and Arquette, which made it passable.

    "Birdman" feels like an inside joke, and it never escapes that categorization for it constantly repeats its wink wink attitude. It keeps calling attention to how much it knows about the world of theater and its actors, so full of insecurity, mental trauma, every possible mental instability you can think of, and most importantly inmeasurable amounts of egocentric devotion. It is always, not so subtly calling attention to how hard it is to be a real actor, how much drama there is, and how special those beings are.

    Keaton plays an actor who wants to be taken seriously by giving Broadway a try, and it's not an easy task because for starters, he doesn't trust himself as being anything else but a long-gone matinée idol, and this is in spite of his fans who keep jumping out of nowhere. You'd think that'd keep his ego satisfied, but where would the film go if there was no drama? So the four writers behind this mess keep piling up the tragedies... an addicted daughter, a possibly cheating girlfriend, who might or not be pregnant, a loving ex-wife who can't stay away in spite of the "attack", a manager who seems to offer too much support, a hateful critic, the local bar... I kept wondering when the Thelma Ritter character was going to make an appearance to liven things a little, but we did have an Eve Carrington type in there, somehow modified to make it look fresh and more psychotic. I never thought I would dislike anything Norton did, but this film managed to make him and Watts totally useless, and these two have been formidable, especially Watts in her last films. She's wonderful in "St. Vincent", showing she's capable of delivering great performances, and to make us feel even worse, there's that lesbian kiss, making me yearn for her sublime turn in "Mulholland Drive".

    So much is wrong with this film that it would take pages to express the disatisfaction. The dialogue is borderline unbearable, making us wish the fictitious "Birdman" strike them dead. These people can't stop talking about their "problems" because if they didn't have them, their lives would be even more boring. It's just plain unbelievable that all actors carry that psychological weight. Are there any happy Broadway types? Even Watts is not happy she finally made it?

    Then there is the gratuitous nudity. There was something strange about that preview, and it did hint at both something special and something really wrong with the film. To be fair, had the film concentrated on the Keaton character, it would have soared. This happens way too late in the movie, and it's an incredible flight of the imagination, but the road there is just mined with too many pretentious and incompetent attempts at being "original". I haven't heard that many yawns and sighs in one theater as I did this time. It's just an utter mess.

    The subject of the theater and acting has been explored and shown with fantastic results, classic performances, and most importantly with superb examples of insight and drama. "All About Eve" and "All That Jazz might be the best of those films, and I can recall O'Toole, Finney, Weist, and a few other very talented actors and directors showing that type of life can indeed be full of drama, wit, insecurity and human comedy. "Birdman" only shows everything that can go wrong with trying to pretend that you do know what is going on.

    Finally, don't get me going on those long hand-held shots... There was once a film about some criminals that was praised to heaven for something similar, and that certainly didn't make it a better film. In this case, it's supposed to be intimate; instead it's annoying, intrusive, disturbing and just another example that along with the interminable number of close ups, it only makes us feel extremely nauseous.

  • THIS won an Oscar?
    by (mcmiller53) on 22 February 2015

    245 out of 427 people found the following review useful:

    For me, a complete and total waste of money and time. My friend fell asleep about 20 minutes into this self-indulgent piece of tripe.

    This movie strains so hard to make itself 'important' and 'groundbreaking' that it never stops to see that it has been done before by Masters such as Woody Allen, Hitchcock and any late night black/white '40s movie.

    The 'plot' is as old as the hills. Man is successful but inwardly unrewarded. He has also rejected his family in search of California movie gold. So, he wants to redeem himself and try his hand at serious theater. Throw in a disturbed and rehabbed daughter, a long-suffering but understanding wife, and a producer pulling his hair out because the 'play' isn't a success and you've got all you need to know.

    The rest is a montage of suspected hallucinations, maybe suicides "who knows?" and you're left feeling empty, cheated and angry because you know somebody's trying to be nouveau and special but simply missed it completely by being too insider and artsy about the whole thing.

    Do not waste your time. If you want to see what theater and Broadway are all about and need a laugh, watch The Producers with Zero Mostel instead. If you want deep, head scratching drama that goes nowhere, go ahead, pay up and watch this nonsense.

    And, I might add, Michael Keaton, to me, was trying too hard, had few acting chops and it was embarrassing to watch him in this. He, like the character he played, was trying way too hard.

  • I created this account for the sole purpose of reviewing this piece of junk
    by kirklandtyler on 18 January 2015

    398 out of 752 people found the following review useful:

    Coming in to this movie, I had heard bad things from people who had seen it but great things from critics. After leaving, the only good thing about it was the acting. This movie definitely was different and unique, but there's a difference from being different and making art and being different and making a piece of crap. The fact that this movie was nominated for best picture above a piece of art, such as Interstellar, is appalling. I do applaud the director for taking a risk and trying to make an unconventional movie, but he needed to first develop a plot in order to make a good movie. I strongly discourage anyone from wasting their time and money seeing this. If you want to watch a movie that is different and considered art, watch any Christopher Nolan, Stanley Kubrick, or Quentin Tarantino movie, not this pathetic excuse for entertainment. And to critics, please learn the difference between unconventional artistic movies and this bloody rubbish.

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