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Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Alejandro González Iñárritu (2014)

a_900x0At this stage of my life as a person who tries to make art — the stage where it’s become abundantly clear that . . .

No, I’d better not go down that road! Begin again. Ahem.

Art about artists who want to make art can be somewhat trying, and so too are some of the more mawkish moments here, but all in all this is a lovely movie, and one which — this is rare to see in the multiplex — actually matches its form to its content, makes its sound inherent to its sense. One might well watch it without ever realizing that it is (to all appearances but of course not in reality) one continuous shot. This is of course insane. The filmmakers and actors must have had to rehearse every instant of the film to get the timing perfect. Yet the result, paradoxically, is a kind of uncanny seamlessness, and there’s yer metaphor, bub: all them pretty pictures and catchy tunes which seem to the customers as natural as blades of grass or butterflies are in fact the steaming byproducts of madness-inducing effort and technique. Our MacGuffin here is a Raymond Carver book, and that makes some nice sense too; what other writer in recent memory has tried so hard to make it seem he wasn’t trying at all?

Art is trying and art is trying.

Good work by all the actors, just like I’d been led to expect by reviews, but I was surprised to find the camera is the true star here, the true birdman that can fly anywhere, above it all.

1 Comment so far

  1. Ben Voigt

    My single favorite moment at the movies last year was when the camera, after chasing Michael Keaton out into Times Square and back into the theater, finally came to rest on that empty hallway backstage–such perfect stillness, the big scene happening off-screen.

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