First BIRDMAN Reviews Soar To New Heights
Last night, Michael Keaton's Birdman debuted at the Venice International Film Festival and won over the majority of the critics. Hit the jump to see what they had to say.
HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: "Brilliantly directed dark comedy about celebrity and creation "
"Birdman flies very, very high. Intense emotional currents and the jagged feelings of volatile actors are turned loose to raucous dramatic and darkly comedic effect in one of the most sustained examples of visually fluid tour de force cinema anyone's ever seen, all in the service of a story that examines the changing nature of celebrity and the popular regard for fame over creative achievement." - Todd McCarthy
VARIETY: "blistering showbiz satire"
"A quarter-century after “Batman” ushered in the era of Hollywood mega-tentpoles — hollow comicbook pictures manufactured to enthrall teens and hustle merch — a penitent Michael Keaton returns with the comeback of the century, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” a blisteringly hot-blooded, defiantly anti-formulaic look at a has-been movie star’s attempts to resuscitate his career by mounting a vanity project on Broadway. In a year overloaded with self-aware showbiz satires, Alejandro G. Inarritu’s fifth and best feature provides the delirious coup de grace — a triumph on every creative level, from casting to execution, that will electrify the industry, captivate arthouse and megaplex crowds alike, send awards pundits into orbit and give fresh wings to Keaton’s career." - Peter Debruge
HIT FIX: "Michael Keaton is superb in meta showbiz drama"
"Michael Keaton plays Riggan in an astonishingly good performance. Not washed up exactly (he can afford to stage a vanity project of dubious financial wisdom), Riggan's got creative ennui and a love-hate relationship with the alter ego that made him a success: Birdman. We don't ever find out all that much about Birdman; we don't need to. He's got a deep, critical voice, which talks to Riggan constantly. He's the linchpin of a superhero franchise from before superhero franchises were fashionable. We also know that Riggan said no to "Birdman 4."" - Catherine Bray
THE GUARDIAN: "An acid but empty flight of fancy"
"Is it a redundancy to complain that Birdman lacks soul? Maybe so. It’s a depthless, self-absorbed film about a shallow, self-absorbed man; jittery and relentless from the first to last gasp. We come scurrying up narrow corridors and up darkened stairwells, through the exploded stage-set of Riggan Thomson’s own head. The delegates applauded; they clearly relished the tour. But they broke for the exit with something approaching relief." - Xan Brooks
HEY U GUYS: "A self-referential, biting comedy"
"And yet this is a film of great consequence & relevance. Dialogue fizzes, the music – particularly the pounding drums – buoys us along on the journey & visually the film is inventive and rich. Wonderful cast, which includes Andrea Riseborough as Thomson’s sexy, mad girlfriend & co-star, Naomi Watts as the actor who has dreamed all her life of Broadway, Amy Ryan as Thomson’s estranged wife & Zach Galifianakis as Thomson’s best mate-theatre producer, all put in stellar performances. But this is Keaton’s film & he truly soars as the eponymous Birdman." - Jo-Ann Titmarsh
TELEGRAPH: "Spectacular, star-powered"
" If the previous Iñárritu picture this feels closest to is Biutiful (2010) – his oddball, not wholly successful attempt to blend social and magic realism around the craggy visage of Javier Bardem – that’s almost entirely down to the statuesque regard in which both films hold their stars. It lands with a force he hasn’t harnessed since Amores Perros, his 2000 debut. This is a phenomenal start to this year’s Mostra: grand, spectacular, star-powered cinema that makes us ask anew what cinema is for. Call it a Dark Knight of the soul. " - Robbie Collin
THE PLAYLIST: "Hubristic, humble, heartfelt and hotheaded"
"The feverishly anticipated (not least by us) movie from Alejandro González Iñárritu blasted through its Venice premiere (it’s the opening film) in a giddy, gonzo rush —so exciting, so moment-to-moment enjoyable that to expect profundity would be greedy. And yet it delivers on that level as well; the film is as thoughtful and smart as it is infectiously absurd. And that's perhaps the biggest surprise of an endlessly surprising, inventive movie: whatever the sum of its parts, like how it launches and completes the “Keatonnaissance” in one fell swoop, or the incredible camerawork that is imperceptibly stitched together into (mostly) one long, seemingly cutless take, “Birdman” adds up to more. It’s borderline miraculous. " - Jessica Kiang
PLOT - Birdman is a dark comedy that follows a former actor, who once played an iconic superhero, as he mounts a Broadway play based on a Raymond Carver short story in a bid to reclaim past glory. However, the play’s egotistical leading man threatens to throw everything down the tubes.
BIRDMAN is being directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu ("21 Grams"). He also wrote the script with Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo. The cast includes: Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough and Michael Keaton ("Batman Returns").
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