Friday, February 6, 2015
3 Thoughts on Birdman
1. The writer/director - I don't know how I fully feel about this movie yet. I've digested it a bit, but I'm still not in love with it. I have a lot of respect for what it accomplishes, and I love more than a few things about it. Yet, there is an air of superiority about it that has me hesitant. First, I would like to point out that Inarritu is among my favorite directors (21 Grams is in my all-time Top 10 and Amores Perros is in my Top 50 - worth noting that these were both written by Guillermo Arriaga), so I am happy with his Oscar nomination and I think he is worthy of the praise for directing such a complicated "gimmick". The problem that I have, I think, is with the writing. It's hard to distinguish, but the story just felt so repetitive. It's as if EVERY scene was saying the same thing over, and over, and over again. The irony of it all is that there is a scene in which this repetitiveness is referenced (and fixed) within the play that this film is revolved around. It's amusing that the creator understands editing within a play, but not within a screenplay. Then the ending is so drawn out and completely simplified, as if Inarritu felt the need to explain his purpose of the previous 90 minutes of story. It's just unnecessary. Don't assume your audience is stupid.
2. The actor - This is going to be hard for me to explain my disdain for the ego of an actor, without sounding like a complete bitch, but here goes: I appreciate acting, but I don't think it's all that complicated. I am the first to recognize a talented actor, but I think the true "art" within the film industry starts with the writer. Actors are given waaaaaay too much credit simply because they are "the face" of the movie. And because of this credit, they are obscenely egotistical. This movie has the intent of showcasing "acting" as Michael Keaton seamlessly transitions himself from scene to scene (yes, he's fantastic. Although, Edward Norton is the standout performance for me), but he's performing someone else's words, completing someone else's vision of a character. The actor isn't really "creating" something of his/her own. I think that this is exemplified by the fact that an actor can be praised for one movie, and then be bashed for the next movie. Did the actor suddenly become a bad actor or was the first movie a fluke? OR did the first writer/director have a clear vision of the character and the next movie didn't? This isn't always true, I think sometimes you can tell if an actor is "phoning in" a performance for money, etc. and sometimes acting is a collaborative process (as seen in the same scene I referenced above with Edward Norton explaining how to cut four lines down to one to create a stronger impact). I often consider the performances as the essential factor of my enjoyment of a movie, but honestly I just don't think that actors are as important as we all seem to give them credit for. Ugh...I do sound like a bitch, but that's really not my intent. I LOVE actors; I'm often attracted to actors and I even dated an actor, once. Actors are usually extremely passionate people and that is incredibly attractive, so I hope I haven't offended anyone (but really....get the fuck over yourself. You're not that important. Hugs and kisses).
3. The critic - Man, this movie is tough on critics. I get it. Most critics piss me off; so much so, that I rarely read "real" critics anymore. However, I don't agree with the whole "critics are just failed artists" idea. Critics, in theory, are people who LOVE a certain art form so much that they want to share their thoughts and ideas about this art form as a profession. Unfortunately, film critics, in particular, have become snarky, hyperbolic and, worst of all, hasty - often criticizing something they haven't even seen. So, I get why this movie shits on critics, but as someone who loves to share opinions on movies, it makes me a little sad that filmmakers feel this way. They should create their art without giving a shit what the audience thinks. If you are making something to please a critic, receive praise and awards, etc., then I'm afraid YOU are the problem, not the critic.