Oscar Nods Night:
Where Alejandro González Iñárritu's previous films (Babel
) were punishing, Birdman
is more like a high-spirited pummeling, and the closest thing to a comedy he’s made so far. Michael Keaton plays Riggan Thomas, who once ruled Hollywood as the star of a superhero franchise – he was the titular Birdman – but whose career has since crumbled. Birdman
opens just days before Riggan debuts his stage adaptation of Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” – and he's cracking from the stress. The play is in shambles, Riggan’s Broadway big-shot co-star (Norton) is stealing his limelight, and Riggan may or may not be going nuts. Birdman
moves at a relentless tempo, somewhere between nervous-leg agitation and hair-pulling hysteria. While its many lines of inquiry may not resolve neatly, Iñárritu's film is so soaring, sometimes literally, I hardly missed the feeling of hard ground underfoot. Read a full review of Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).