Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance

Rated: R

          I’d like to tell you about 2014’s Oscar’s Best Picture Award winner, Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (from here on referred to only as Birdman, because the whole title is a mouthful.) I’m not sure exactly why I wanted to see this movie. Perhaps it was the title, which is awfully intriguing. Perhaps it was because Edward Norton was the supporting actor and I’ve loved almost everything he’s been in. Perhaps it was that Michael Keaton was the star and it’s been awhile since I’ve seen him in anything. Whatever it was I was enticed enough to see it while it was in theaters.
Birdman is the story of Riggan, an actor who’s been out of the lime light for a while and is attempting to put on a Broadway play. Known in the past for playing iconic super hero Bridman, Riggan struggles against his producer (played by Zach Galifianakis), his family and his Birdman alter-ego to put on the best play he can muster, while attempting to prove to everyone, including himself, that he’s still got what it takes.
        Admittedly it took me a LONG time after seeing this movie to decide whether I liked it or not, and I’m still a bit on the fence several months later (which is why it’s taken me so long to review it). I mean, I knew right away that I didn’t hate it, but that certainly doesn’t mean it blew me away either. It’s listed as a black comedy. I’m not sure exactly what the difference between a black comedy and a dark comedy is, but I usually like dark comedies better, so that wasn’t a factor in my enjoyment of it.
Birdman is the type of film that is admittedly hard to sum up. Every comedic aspect was a home run, (I’m sure you’ve all seen the clips of Michael Keaton walking through Times Square in his underwear, which definitely takes some guts!), but at times it felt like the darker under current was going to splash up and consume everything in its wake. Keaton’s performance was wonderful, I think, because it wasn’t much of a stretch. It seemed he was mostly playing the darker version of himself.
        Perhaps this is just a film I’m going to have to revisit sometime and then revise this review, because there’s definitely more to it than meets the eye. Not that I think the meaning goes too deep, but there are certainly things I understand a little better now, after thinking about it for literally months, that I think would make this film a little less confusing and far more enjoyable. So for all of you out there my advice is this, (without giving anything away of course), when you do finally see this film the most  important thing to keep in mind is the whole title,
Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). I believe that alone clears up a few things at least, leaving you more able to appreciate this work of art for what it is.

Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is rated R, was written and directed by Alejandro Gonzalaz Inarittu and stars Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis and Emma Stone. It’s available now on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.