Friday, 27 February 2015

Into the Woods

Agony beyond power of speech… but is it?

„Into the Woods“ is an adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical of the same name. It is directed by Rob Marshall and stars a great ensemble cast with Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine. The plot mixes up a bunch of different fairytales including but not limited to Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk. It connects them through our main characters, the Baker (Corden) and his wife (Blunt), who are sent on a quest by the Witch (Streep) to alleviate a curse that she placed on them.

First of all, I am glad to do something I have not had much reason to in recent years, I get to praise Johnny Depp for a performance. Depp plays only a small role as the big bad wolf, but he fits in perfectly, reminding the audience of his performance in “Sweeney Todd”, which was probably the last time he’s been really good in anything. He only gets one song with Little Red Riding Hood, played by Lilla Crawford, but damn do they make something of it. We all know the story, but “Into the Woods” puts a particular undertone to it, that I won’t spoil if you can’t guess it, and Depp and Crawford play off each other perfectly.

That, of course, is only a very minor part in a movie that runs for two hours. However, there is no reason to worry, as the rest of the cast give performances that are on par or better. They pull off the singing very well, complete with some intentionally hilarious performances by Chris Pine, who reminds me a bit of Nathan Fillion as Captain Hammer in “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” (And if you haven’t seen that… it’s only 40 minutes, I’ll be waiting). I don’t want to talk about everyone, but a few cast members deserve special recognition. James Corden and Emily Blunt have great chemistry and since “Looper” and “Edge of Tomorrow”, I just can’t help but be excited every time Emily Blunt is in a movie. They both have serious singing chops, which Corden was already able to demonstrate in this year’s “Begin Again”, another wonderful movie. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody by now that Anna Kendrick can sing, seeing as she is already gearing up for her next musical performance with “Pitch Perfect 2”, and her indecisive rendition of Cinderella is fun to watch.

Oh yeah, and Meryl Streep is in this movie. With this film in the bag, she’s probably only one movie away from her twentieth Academy Award nomination. From everything I had seen in the trailers before seeing the film, I was sceptical if the Witch was a role that deserved an Oscar nomination or if the Academy just stopped looking after they saw Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood”. I was wrong. The Witch is such a cool character, and Meryl Streep is the best actress on the planet, which results in a memorable performance. She is menacing, funny, smart, loving and angry. That’s tough to pull off, but she is such a joy to watch. Also her first song is a rap… so let that sink in for a moment.

 I should mention quickly that this film looks amazing. I was particularly impressed by the fact that Marshall decided not to overuse CGI to make a huge spectacle of the bigger events in the musical. He concentrates on the characters and the music. And that is where this films true strength lies. Stephen Sondheim is Musical royalty. In “Into the Woods”, he created a subversive take on fairy tales and manages to be funny and convey an important message at the same time. The stage version is split into two parts, a dichotomy that is still there in the film version. However, large parts of the second half are cut out of the film, which is unfortunate, because this is where the piece becomes really intelligent. The film still works and the message is intact, however the last thirty minutes of the film feel slightly disjointed because of this.


In conclusion, I can only quote the Witch and say “Go to the Woods!” This is a very smart and entertaining film. Be aware that there comes a point in this film where you might think that it will end soon. That is the end of the first half of the original musical. You still have about half an hour to go, so don’t get impatient. If you can manage that, you’ll get to enjoy the best songs in the whole movie… except for “Agony”, nothing beats that.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Foxcatcher

How to summarise “Foxcatcher” in one sentence… Well, I’ll have to paraphrase my immediate reaction to the movie: That was the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever watched. It’s also a unique experience, that’s for sure.

“Foxcatcher” is directed by Bennett Miller and stars Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carrell and Steve Carrell’s fake nose. The film is about John du Pont (Carrell) and the brothers Mark (Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Ruffalo). DuPont is a rich heir who has set his mind to creating a top-notch wrestling team called Foxcatcher. To do so, he hires Mark Schultz, winner of an Olympic gold medal, to train his team. However, tensions rise between Schultz and du Pont, as both of them do not go into their partnership without baggage.

First of all, this is not a sports movie. It might be centred on a wrestling team, but there is no great fight for redemption waiting at the end and the training is not shown in montage style. “Foxcatcher” deals strictly with personal drama. And there’s a lot of that. The three lead characters (this is clearly an ensemble piece, no matter what the Academy thinks) each have fascinating connections to the other two. Tatum’s Mark desires to rise from the shadow of his brother, while at the same time being overwhelmed by the attentions of du Pont. Ruffalo plays a family man who doesn’t trust du Pont’s generous offer immediately and tries everything to protect his little brother. Du Pont, finally, is looking for the respect he feels he deserves.

The performances are incredible all around. Tatum once again shows us how good he is at portraying, to put it politely, a simple character. Mark Schultz is a lumbering, slow man, not smart and really only very good at one thing, wrestling. Tatum adjusts his posture and stride and gives an impression of constant bewilderment. However, when he gets into his element, it’s an amazing sight, suddenly moving with speed and grace. A great sequence early on shows us a training session with his brother, almost a dance that reveals a lot about both characters and their relationship, without any dialogue. Ruffalo and Tatum apparently trained every evening after shooting, which translates to the screen as they seem completely proficient in what they do. The most surprising performance however has to be Steve Carrell’s. Whatever you think about the rest of his work, if you only saw “Foxcatcher”, you would never believe that Carrell was a comedic actor. Director Bennett Miller stated that he wanted to cast someone inconspicuous for the role, and Carrell is perfect. With the aid of extensive make-up and prosthetics, he creates a chilling character, but also one the audience can somehow understand.

Bennett Miller did not go easy on the actors, which is something he is known for. However, it seems like they were all more than willing to take the challenge, as Miller’s two other movies, “Capote” and “Moneyball” both showed that he can get amazing performances from his actors. So far that has always translated into Oscar nominations and a win for Phillip Seymour-Hoffman. He was instrumental in turning around Jonah Hill’s career, setting him on the path towards more dramatic roles and working with Scorsese. Maybe “Foxcatcher” will have the same effect for Carrell.

However, all the praise aside, one thing is certain. This film is an experience, but it is not a pleasurable one. I’m glad that I saw it, but I doubt that I will ever see it again, because the mood that Miller creates is so intensely uncomfortable and the atmosphere so filled with dread that you are constantly on the edge of your seat. It becomes really hard to sit still, as even scenes that should be rather standard fare turn the tension up to eleven. A huge part of this is Miller’s decision to let the film run with almost no background music. Everyone knows that music has a huge influence on the tone of a scene, but Miller shows us that the absence of music is a stylistic device in itself.


Overall, “Foxcatcher” is a great movie, but if you are not into indie-dramas and mostly look for entertainment in movies, you’d probably better stay away from this one.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Selma

Martin Luther King was a very brave man. But so is Tim Roth, because I would not want to be seen anywhere near to a person such as George Wallace, yet he decides to impersonate him on-screen. That takes balls.

“Selma” stars David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King and is directed by Ava DuVernay. It focuses on King’s attempt to remove voting restrictions for black people by staging a protest in the small town of Selma, Alabama. He has to find a way to pressure Lyndon B. Johnson into signing further legislation against segregation while facing hostility towards himself and his family.

There is no other way to say this, “Selma” is an impressive movie, convincing on every level. Martin Luther King is arguably one of the greatest fighters for human rights in history. His “I Have a Dream” speech has been heard around the world and his accomplishments can be felt to this day. This together with the events in Ferguson gives this movie an undeniable topicality. Simply put, you can’t half-ass it working on a film like this.

Thankfully, nobody does. David Oyelowo is hypnotizing as King, emulating his intonation and speech patterns perfectly, even though he didn’t have any of King’s actual speeches to work with (studio politics… it’s insane). The script gives him the opportunity to show us different sides of King, a man shouldering a huge responsibility. We see him at his strongest when he has to confront the President or giving speeches and we see him almost break down from doubt, coping with the victims that his fight demands and trying to mend the strained relationship with his wife. We also see how his organization worked, trying to apply public pressure by provoking conflict while staying non-violent. “Selma” doesn’t sugar-coat, there is conflict inside the movement and between different groups.

The depiction of President Johnson has attracted some controversy, because some people found him to be depicted as opposed to the civil rights movement. I found him to be a fascinating character, a great portrayal by Tom Wilkinson. It’s not so much that he doesn’t want to help, he just feels that he’s taking a great risk in doing so. So he keeps his options open as King puts more pressure on him with each day of protest. George Wallace, played by Tim Roth, is another story. A man whom Roth himself described as a monster (no “the villain is the hero in his own story” here, Roth talks about being genuinely appalled by the original Wallace, as he grew up during the Civil Rights Movement). Wallace is a spineless racist who could have fit into last year’s “12 Years a Slave” without problem. All the more respect to Tim Roth for taking on the character.

The film is well-structured, although it sometimes feels as if it is following a four step plan on repeat, President, protest, doubt and marital problems. However, it works, so I’m not complaining.


All in all, “Selma” is a great film, probably even an important one, because it serves as a reminder that no matter how far we think we have come, the fight for equality is far from over. I’d suggest marching to your nearest cinema right about now.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The Interview

I don’t really see what all the fuss was about…

“The Interview” stars James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzie Caplan and Randall Park. It’s directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and I have the feeling this is certainly not the first time you’ve heard about it. If you haven’t though, the film follows James Franco as Dave Skylark, a celebrity talk show host, and his producer Alan Rapaport, played by Seth Rogen. They get the opportunity of interviewing Kim Jong-Un, the supreme leader of North Korea. Things get complicated when the CIA approaches them with the request of using the opportunity to kill the dictator.

The film attracted an enormous amount of controversy after North Korea declared that should it be screened for audiences, they would consider this an act of warfare. Later, during the Sony hack scandal, this movie was given as the reason behind the attack. So is this movie a work of bravery, shamelessly calling out the injustices committed by the mad dictator of a poor country? Well… a little bit maybe?

Most of all it is a Rogen/Goldberg comedy. They’re usually funny, rarely packed with meaning, this one definitely more so than “Pineapple Express” or “This is the end”. And, I have to say, it doesn’t do too bad considering how touchy the topic is. What remarks it has about politics, it shares them pretty evenly between the terrible dictatorship and the hubris of the CIA trying to assassinate its leader. The actual interview from the title does a pretty good job here at seeing the bigger picture.

Nevertheless, this is a comedy in the first place, the satire comes later. And as a comedy, this is one of the funnier ones I’ve seen recently. Rogen and especially Franco play clowns, but they are good at it, and it works way more often than it doesn’t. Their chemistry is established and they do not stray too far from familiar territory. There’s drug use, dick jokes, everything you would expect from a movie starring these two. The movie also shows us our characters actually having a good time, without trying to make a joke out of it, which I find important in a good comedy, because it makes us like the characters without dropping the mood. There is a slower section in the middle where the two main characters are split up. At this point I thought that the film might have needed another side-character to keep the jokes running.

The movie also has a surprisingly good villain in Randall Park’s Kim Jong-Un, a very charismatic turn and well done, because playing a parody of a real life dictator could easily go very wrong very fast. It doesn’t however and Park and Franco play off each other with an easy chemistry.


All in all, I was surprised at how much fun I had with this film. It’s not “The Great Dictator”, but the film treats its subject with as much respect as you can expect from a comedy and it delivers in spades when it comes to the jokes, which, let’s be honest, is all that really matters.

Spiderman is in the Marvel Universe!

An hour ago I was asleep. I was very happy when I was asleep. But then I guess my Spider-Sense was tingling and I woke up to find a message from Cinemartian.

So here's what happened. In a move that is completely unprecedented, Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Sony Pictures Entertainment of last years hacking scandal, more on that further down, and Marvel Studios have released a statement that said that Spider-Man will appear in a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. Also, Kevin Feige, the genius behind those movies, will be co-producing upcoming Spider-Man movies, the first one set for release on July 23rd, 2017.

So what exactly is going on?

Spider-Man is one of the most popular superheroes in the world. He's in one league with Superman and Batman in that. The movie rights to Spider-Man were sold to Sony somewhere in the 90's, meaning that only Sony had the right to make Spider-Man movies. The same thing happened to the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, who both went to Fox, and a bunch of other characters, most of which got one film made, failed completely and then reverted back to Marvel. With the exception of the Ghost Rider and the Punisher, who got to fail more than once before they went back home.

In the meantime, Marvel had enough of seeing film studios butcher their properties and decided, if you want to have it done well, you have to do it yourself. So they founded Marvel Studios, their own film studio, in order to have their own production. The rights to their most popular characters were all gone, so they took a risk and adapted "The Avengers" to the screen, and we all know that didn't exactly turn out bad for them. A few years later and Marvel is the absolute boss in the blockbuster business.

Sony however struggles with Spider-Man, with an extremely mixed output, that got heavy criticism on at least two out of the five Spidey outings they produced. "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" was so bad, that even though it did solid business, Sony decided to hold a big Spidey summit (their words) in January, to decide the creative direction they will take in the future. (Their previous direction seems to have been to meddle with the creative choices as much as possible, which has led to the abysmal quality of ASM2.)

Their decision is unprecedented in so far that two big studios have never cooperated on a single property like this. And there are good reasons for that. There is some weird overlaps with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, because they are X-Men and Avengers, but apart from that, it just tends to get very complicated. Sony retains creative control over Spider-Man, so they can potentially veto every decision Marvel makes. Every line Spider-Man gets in a MCU movie is therefore a possible conflict between the two studios. Does he get enough lines? Are they cool enough? Can we still sell toys with this Spider-Man (no joke, you wouldn't believe how much money a studio makes with toys and merchandise. Which, by the way, ended the Batman franchise until Nolan showed up, but that's another story)? That's the reason why this hasn't been done before.

So is it even a good idea then?

Well, that's certainly not an easy question. Let's go through some pros and cons.

First, Spider-Man is immensely popular. It's never really a bad decision to add something popular. Still, if there is one company in the world that doesn't need Spider-Man right now, it's Marvel Studios. One of their most successful movies is based on a property that not even the biggest comic book geeks knew much about. Yet people flocked to see "Guardians of the Galaxy", and it was awesome. At this point in time, Marvel can do anything and the fans will trust them. Getting Spider-Man into their movies is just showing off.

On the other hand, it's also a huge gamble, because now whenever they want to put Spider-Man into one of their movies, they have to deal with Sony. And Sony has not exactly shown good judgement pertaining to him. That spells trouble and it touches on the point that worries me the most. Sony Pictures as a company is on the ropes right now. They had a huge scandal last year and just fired one of the people responsible for making it as big of an embarassment as it is, Amy Pascal. She got a really nice severance package with a new studio under Sony, but she is no longer leading one of the biggest movie studios in the world. And guess who is partnering up with Kevin Feige to manage this crossover. It's not Scott Rudin, who was the other guy getting a lot of coverage in connection with the Sony hacks (He's also the one who was right in that particular argument about the Steve Jobs movie, but again, beside the point). So, I don't know how capable Amy Pascal is in the end, when the last Amazing Spider-Man movie was a complete mess with multiple members of crew and cast speaking out against it afterwards, blaming studio interference. Now Kevin Feige is a very smart man and I doubt he would have made this deal if there wasn't some regulations in place that limit Sony in their ability to interfere.

What it comes down to on the business end is this: At this point, nobody would have been surprised had Sony just outright sold the rights for Spider-Man back to Marvel. If that had been the news this morning, hell, I'd probably be dancing on my chair right now. This way, I think is very likely to cause problems down the road. I would rather have seen Sony actually man up and try to make a decent movie by themselves for a change or, if they don't think they can do that, give it back completely.

So that's the business side, interesting in their own right. But what about the character, about the Cinematic Universe... well, I might catch some flak for this, but I don't see Spider-Man play an integral role in the MCU. Take a look at the trajectory "The Avengers" are on at the moment. They are going global, with "Age of Ultron" reportedly taking place all around the world, for example that big brawl everyone is waiting for, "The Green against the Machine", Hulk vs. Hulkbuster, is set in Johannesburg, South Africa. We have yet to see even a hint that Spider-Man can work outside of New York in a movie. Hell, they haven't been able to make him work in New York for all it's worth. But that is Spideys home turf. Sure, the comics see him branching out from time to time, but he is firmly New York based. In that, and in his powers, which let's be honest, put him somewhere slightly above Black Widow in the MCU, he is more on the scale of "The Defenders", Marvel's Netflix property.

More likely, Spider-Man will take a part in Civil War, and I don't expect it to be the part that he takes in the comics, because Black Panther has been put in his place and they won't change that after they announced it on a stage in front of the fans, and then we will see him in his solo movies. Of which there will be less. Because if they are serious about working together with Kevin Feige, they will have to work around his schedule, and he has a whole universe to manage. So I don't see a "Sinister Six", "Venom" or any other spin-off film happening any time soon.

And that is a pity, because I was really hoping for a Spider-Man cinematic universe. What Sony doesn't seem to realise is that they had a perfectly fine universe of their own to play in, and in that they needed Marvel as little as Marvel needed them. Spider-Man has such a great rogues gallery, which if treated right, gives you so many options. Now clearly, everything is on a smaller scale than the MCU, but scale doesn't matter if the movies are done well.

By which we come to an overwhelmingly positive point. From this point on, they are going to be. So all that talk, it doesn't really matter, because what Sony was lacking was someone in charge who actually cared about the property Spider-Man. Now they have Kevin Feige on board, who knows exactly how far a studio can get involved and when to let the filmmakers do their thing. He takes risks and makes them work. So whatever the role he will be playing, however bad or good this decision has been for Sony and Marvel, there is one person who profits from this in any case, and that's Spider-Man. And when Spider-Man profits, we all profit. Except for Andrew Garfield, who is probably going to be recast, although nothing is confirmed on that yet. Which is a shame, because he was the best thing about the last two Spider-Man movies, and by that I mean he was really really good.

Small edit: It has been pointed out to me that I entirely missed the fact that the new Spider-Man movie will take the release date of "Thor: Ragnarok" and push the rest of the MCU movies back a bit, delaying for example "Black Panther" for half a year, until we are getting back into the original release schedule with "Avengers Infinity War Part 1". However, this is more of a minor annoyance than something that actually worries me.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Boyhood

People say that it was a bold choice by director Richard Linklater to film “Boyhood” over the course of twelve years. I say it was bold to cast his own daughter as Mason’s big sister, who deserves a slap in the face on multiple occasions.

“Boyhood” is directed by Richard Linklater and stars Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette. It’s the most insane coming-of-age film ever made. And no, that is not hyperbole, because Linklater actually shot a boy (and his own daughter in a supporting role) growing up for twelve years. Ellar Coltrane plays Mason Jr. and the plot revolves around him growing up, nothing more and nothing less.

It’s really hard to go into more detail, because the details do not necessarily form a cohesive story, just as life doesn’t. The script, which I suspect has gone through a lot of changes during the twelve year development of this movie, doesn’t help you either, because it avoids hitting clichés at all times. This film does not go from one first to the next, first beer, first joint, first kiss, first girlfriend and so on. It doesn’t give you these neat chapters. There’s also no “One Year Later”. Linklater gives you hints, a song, a new haircut or new friends, but the rest is left to you to piece together. This makes it that much more effective, especially as it almost forces you to reminisce. I am a bit older than Mason, but still I could see myself, my brothers, my sister, my cousin, hell, my whole family and everyone I know, somewhere in this film. I remember going to a “Harry Potter” event to get the new book by the stroke of midnight. I remember when I saw my first “Star Wars” film. I also remember when my sister was into “High School Musical”. This is how the film structures itself and it makes for a unique experience. It is the perfect time-capsule for anyone growing up in the 2000’s, which might make it less relevant to people twenty or thirty years from now, but for people my age it makes it special.

I made a joke in my review for “St. Vincent” about how bad child actors seem to be extinct, and this film proves me right, because Coltrane and Linklater are perfect. They play children the way Stephen King writes them (think “Stand By Me”), foul-mouthed, mean to each other and childish. Linklater has a particularly obnoxious scene very early on that cracked up the audience completely. In the early scenes, Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke do a lot of the heavy-lifting as the parents, living in separation, but the older the two children get, the more they become their own characters, growing into their roles… see what I did there? It’s really fascinating to watch. It seems weird that it would make such a big difference when films have younger versions of our main characters all the time, played by younger actors, but it changes everything.

But the adults are remarkable as well, netting nominations in both supporting categories, with a pretty much guaranteed win for Patricia Arquette, who has to go through a lot in this film. We see her struggle with being a single parent, an alcoholic husband, a bunch of other stuff and finally seeing her children off to college. It’s a remarkable performance. The same goes for Ethan Hawke, as a father who doesn’t quite know himself at the beginning of the film and who struggles to stay relevant in the life of his children. It should also be noted that he has made about twenty movies in the years this movie was filmed in and still came back to the production and got back in the character. The same obviously goes for Arquette, who did a television series for a large part of that time.


All in all, it would be an understatement to call this movie memorable. The sheer ambition of this film is amazing and it is almost guaranteed that you will find yourself somewhere in this film.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Birdman

I study English, so I noticed the passage that was quoted from “Macbeth”… are you impressed yet?

“Birdman” is directed by Alejandro G. Inárritu and boasts an ensemble cast consisting of Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis and a bunch of other talented actors. It follows Riggan Thomas (Keaton), an actor who used to be famous for playing a superhero called Birdman. However that was twenty years ago and now he is washed up, divorced and hears the voice of Birdman in his head, prodding him about his lost glory. He tries to win back respect and credibility by putting on a Broadway play that he adapted himself.

So much for the synopsis, however if you want to know what the movie really is about… think grand themes, love, life, self-respect, people… there is little that this movie doesn’t touch on. Every single character in this film is fleshed out and has his or her own problems to deal with. The script has a quality about it that reminded me of “Good Will Hunting”, where you could clearly see any characters point of view. No one in that movie is wrong, it’s just that they want and need different things and that’s where the conflict comes from. “Birdman” is exactly the same. It’s a very rare thing and especially in films it goes wrong all the time (prime example of late would be “The Imitation Game” in which we are just asked to accept that Turing is right and everyone else is wrong).

But even a great script could fail if the actors can’t deliver. Well, they can and they do. Keaton of course is first and foremost, realizing his character with a gruff exterior and some spectacular personal issues. However, he is never in danger of becoming unlikeable, because as we see him interact with different people, we see that there is a warm side to him, especially in his scenes with Naomi Watts’ young actress (reprising her role from “King Kong”?) whose dream of being in a Broadway play comes true thanks to Riggan.

Edward Norton manages the same thing, although with an almost completely different character. He plays the second lead in Riggan’s play, prestige actor Mike Shiner, who turns out to be troublesome backstage and on-stage, throwing tantrums left and right, being a cruel boyfriend to Naomi Watts and hitting on Riggan’s daughter Sam, played by Emma Stone. However, just as Riggan shows that he is not completely self-obsessed, in his conversations with Sam, he slowly reveals his own insecurities. We also see his growing respect for Riggan and that the two of them might have more in common than they initially thought when the two of them have separate altercations with a theatre critic.

Also deserving of praise are Zach Galifianakis and Emma Stone. Galifianakis anchors large portions of the movie as Riggan’s manager, showing his talent in a much more serious role than we usually see him. Stone has a few memorable moments all to herself, when she opens up to her father about her drug rehabilitation and explains viral videos to him.

One important aspect of this film has gone unmentioned so far. In true Hitchcockian manner, Inárritu decided to shoot the film with the intent to make it look as if it was one long take. No cutting back and forth between characters during dialogue, no simple scene transitions, nothing. The camera follows the characters, switching from one to the other at times, incorporating smart ways to hide the passing of time, it’s all quite breath-taking. This could of course be dismissed as a gimmick, but it simply isn’t. Because we don’t cut away when a pivotal scene is over for one character, but instead just follow another, we see how much they actually rely on each other, be it because Riggan needs Mike to be his second lead or because Sam finally gets Mike to open up a bit off-stage. All of these things are connected to each other, which makes this such a great ensemble film, even if on paper Riggan might be the main character.

The only thing I could say that I didn’t love 100% was that in the end most characters find some kind of gratification for their character arc, or show some clear growth, except for Norton’s character, who is left hanging a bit. I might see that differently if I watched it again, but for now, I would have liked to get a little bit more out of that character towards the end.


Overall, “Birdman” is probably one of the greatest ensemble movies of all time. It is a fascinating film and I really want to see it again if I find the time. So far, this is definitely my pick for best picture this year and I would be surprised if it doesn’t win.

Also, check out my friend Cinemartians review over here.