Birdman was a film I had wanted to watch since its theatrical release last year but I had only got ahold of it for a birthday present. The film features around Michael Keaton who plays Riggan Thomson a faded hollywood actor who is now trying to make it again on Broadway; He is best know for playing ‘Birdman’ a superhero decades ago.
The cinematic aspects of the film are how in certain shots the camera angles are shot as if the actor is walking towards you. Time Lapse’s are also featured in the film particularly in the theatre when Riggan’s theatre show is being performed. In one scene the film cuts to the live show. In a article I read the Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu wanted Birdman to be filmed like it was one continuous shot featuring the time lapses and dark spaces cutting each scene.
he camera shots are also extremely personal making some look like the shot is from the actors eyes. Some shots are also in action with the character walking towards and then past the camera and followed after; this shots partially happen in the theatre; one of my favourite scenes features Keaton walking in times square in his pants after being locked out; The camera is fast paced and busy following Keaton through the tourists and bemused people taking Keatons ‘Riggan’s’ video.
Other cinematic aspects is when finally out the theatre the character of Riggan is hallucinating down the street and envisioning Birdman flying above him causing havoc; a lot of the film actually shows Keaton hallucinating and talking to Birdman his old character/conscience. In a beginning scene Keaton hallucinates levitating objects in his room and speaking to his Birdman Poster. Bird man is not only Keatons alter ego but also in some ways his imaginary friend/conscience
I found this article really interesting http://www.fastcodesign.com/3042470/check-out-how-one-of-birdmans-ridiculously-long-shots-was-made
The music in Birdman features a lot of ‘natural’ style music so lots of background noise making the feeling of being in a busy New York more pronounced. The films original music segments consist of a solo jazz percussion performances of a drum score by Antonio Sanchez with many dramatic aspects being developed more with the build up of a snare drum as the music. The music also was played by several jazz compositions by different musicians.
In the theatre scene’s the lighting is rather dark following the characters around behind the stage and in corridors. When each character is performing though on the stage the lighting is bright and harsh; like when Keaton and Edward Norton’s ‘Mike’ first act together at the table the lighting there is harsh and false. A interesting shot and scene is when Riggan attempts suicide; the shot is from behind his head with the lighting above his head towards the crowd; this creates shadowing and a more dramatic effect I believe. Love the curly wig.
Mise en scene
The film is set in New York especially in Broadway featuring times square; a lot of the film itself is shot in the theatre Keaton is performing his play in; for the film the theatre featured is The St.James and Kaufman Astoria studios in New York for internal and external shots. There is a roof top scene featuring the character of Mike ‘Edward Norton’ and Riggan’s daughter Sam Thomson ‘Emma Stone’ this scene is interesting as it showcases the New York back drop from the theatre roof.
There is a range of characters shown in the film with the protagonist character being Riggan and antagonist character being Mike as he and Riggan clash extremely when it comes how they perform in the play. Mike’s character is extreme in his views and holds no limits to pushing Riggan to his extremes; in one scene in a live performance Mike ruin’s Riggan’s monologue by freaking out and accusing him of being false and unbelievable. Riggan himself is a dreamer and wants to break Broadway after his career fails in Hollywood. Riggan is in his fifties and gives the impression of being a loose canon with himself. Emma Stone play’s the daughter and dress’s in revealing clothing having ripped tights and tattoo’s; her entire look seems to give the impression of being a rebel in which we realise she is; her makeup is messily applied with heavy eyeliner and natural skin. Keaton’s journey in the film is shown from start to finish with his aim of making it in broadway finally succeeding. He finally reconciles with his family and finds his peace of mind. For me the most interesting part of the film is the final scene when Emma Stone visits her father in hospital and he’s wearing a bandage that looks like a super hero mask on his face after shooting himself; its the finish to the film that makes you think that the characters finally content with himself and who he is.
I would give this film a 8/10 A enjoyable watch that is both creative and humorous. The camera shots are really creative and interesting to look at, I would take inspiration from this film within my fashion film after watching the range of shots and close up angles.