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Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Riggan is vainly seeking artistic redemption through an arty Broadway play but boo birds hover: his nagging junkie daughter (Emma Stone); his stressing friend/manager (Zach Galifianakis); his judging ex-wife (Amy Ryan); his hassling erstwhile girlfriend (Andrea Riseborough); and his needy lead actress (Naomi Watts).
Iñárritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki present it like a radioactive can of worms, the camera observing but not resting as it rips through what seems like one single take in the entire film (there are a few edits).
Birdman is never less than entertaining and often archly amusing, and Keaton is the right guy for this gig in every sense. Iñárritu and his three co-screenwriters are sometimes a little too clever for their own good, like that nonsensical and grammar-defying full title for the film.
Extras include a conversation with Keaton and Iñárritu and a making-of featurette.
But he does much more than rage in Theodore Melfi’s soulful comedy, an impressive debut for the writer/director, which has Murray playing mischievous babysitter to neighbour nerd Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), a bullied 12-year-old in need of some life lessons.
The movie never wallows in sentiment but it lifts the heart and brightens the smile, a task aided by well-cast (and funny) co-stars Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts and Chris O’Dowd. A genuine crowd-pleaser.
Extras include deleted scenes and a Q&A with Bill Murray.
1. Every Man For Himself (Criterion)
5. Lust for Life
8. The Conformist (1970)
9. The Sword of Doom (Criterion)
10. Hector & the Search for Happiness