The Unexpected Virtue Of Iñárritu
Or: A Post About Birdman With A Rather Pretentious Title
Birdman, though not a film about a man who becomes an actual real half-man-half-budgie as I was hoping it would be, is nonetheless pretty magnificent, and as Edwyn Collins once sang, I’ve never known (seen) a girl (film) like you (this: Birdman) before.
First pretty magnificent thing: it doesn’t cut*, at all*, not even once*; this is a huge lie, because it does cut (*hello!), BUT: not in the main body of the story! Actual hard cuts are used as very significant breakpoints and so for probably 90+ minutes you’ve got what appears to be one continuous camera shot, and it’s utterly enthralling like nothing else before. Gravity’s opening ~15m sequence with the same trick was astonishing but here it’s taken to such an extreme that the entire audience in the cinema simultaneously guffed themselves unconscious at the spectacle of it all, at least seven times.
It felt like cheating to even blink.
Mega-pretentiou-douchey comments about blinking aside, it really does draw one in to the story and the world being built, and makes it feel incredibly real. I hope no film ever does it again so we don’t get used to it, but that thing is this thing: unlikely.
Another pretty magnificent thing: there’s quite a bit of acting going on, with people pretending to be people pretending to be people, and even with some of those people having other people inside them, and no not like that, “matron”. All of the people do a pretty swell job of pretending to be other people pretending to be other people so that’s really nice. There’s one or two long character rants that’re a bit strange but on the whole: top quality pretending.
Pretty Magnificent 3: Magnificentier: it Has Things To Say about films, and the media, and silly humans and our silly brains, and that, in both direct and subtle ways.
Pu-ri-tee Ma-gu-ni-fi-cen-te-ru 4?!?!? The ending has a lot of possible interpretations and for that it’s just lovely, because you’ll get to argue with your friends and/or split personalities over which one’s most likely the right one. Who doesn’t love a bit of that?! Friendless sane people.
TL;DR It’s brilliant in so many ways that I’ve lost count (four).