Movies: Birdman Review (or “A Style Over Substance Flick That Literally Sent Me To Sleep”)

When will I ever learn that a five-star review from a random critic is not reason enough to go to see a film? Just because someone else likes it, it doesn’t mean I will, so rather than just blindly think “Well it must be good”, I should do a little bit of research into what it’s about before going along.

The synopsis that “Michael Keaton plays a washed-up superhero actor in this breathtakingly original showbiz satire” doesn’t come anywhere close to explaining what Birdman is really about, and anyone going into the cinema armed only with that information should be forgiven for feeling short-changed.

And even if you were told that it’s about the run up to the opening night of a Broadway show financed and starring Keaton’s character as he strives to find critical acceptance after years of only being known as “Thebirdman guy from Birdman” then that still wouldn’t paint the whole picture.

Because at heart, what this is really about is arty direction.

With its annoyingly frenetic drum based incidental music and Long Take style, this is a film designed to stand out as being something that looks and sounds different to almost anything else we see out of Hollywood. And in fairness, the style does hit the right note to begin with. But the problem is that it’s a gimmick that fails to conceal the problems with a pretty dull script.

Direction aside, Birdman just doesn’t have enough plot or character depth to justify its two hour running time. So it got boring quite quickly and at one point – and I say this with no word of a lie – even briefly sent me to sleep despite it being 1pm.

The acting wasn’t bad, but like Birdman as a whole, it suffered from the performers trying too hard.

I suspect the praise it gets comes because it presents itself as something different, and while that’s fine, you’ve got to consider the whole package if you want to give it five stars.

A thumbs down from me to start 2015.


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