Now, this is a much more recent choice for a film than i have ever done. However, I really enjoy it, it was added to several top-films lists, and has been added to the 1001 movies to see before you die so I say it deserves its status as Iconic.
For those who do not know, Birman is the story of washed up actor Riggan who is primarily famous for portraying the fictional superhero Birman.The film follows Riggan as he struggles to be seen as a serious dramatic actor and struggles to put on a live theatre show. The film stars Michael Keaton ( a comedic actor primarily known for playing Batman who has been trying to be seen as a serious actor for the last few decades) in the role he was, white literally, born to play. Keaton stars alongside Edward Norton as over-blown actor Mike. Mike is known for his method acting and off-temper when on set (parallels, parallels.) As you can guess, this film is supremely well-acted and almost all leading actors were up for oscars.It was my personal favorite film of the year, and I think one of the few times that the Oscars got it right. Now, I have said “i loved” many films that I review, and they are all very good, but Birman is something truly special.
To begin, the plot is truly stunning. As I said, it follows the plight of Riggan to leave his old life behind. However, what I didn’t say, is that Birman refuses to leave Riggan alone. The audience is treated to seeing Riggan battle the literal incarnation of his past in what, is essentially, a split personality that has formed inside of him to represent the character. Everything shown in the film is from the perspective of Riggin and that is why we get such ingenious imagery like him floating in the air at the beginning, bird man launching a fireball, and of course the odd ending. Michael Keaton knocks every scene out of the park and fully embodies the tragedy of the character. He performs several powerful monologues, my favorite being the one he tells the reviewer, and is truly one of the greatest parts of the film.
Of course, Birman is unique for more than just its leading man. It has groundbreaking cinematography, and was filmed all in one-shot. Well, that is not exactly true, it was filmed with in a Rope-esque style with hidden cuts. (That means the camera would hold over a still image like a wall or puddle to make a cut so the cut would be nearly impossible to detect by the audience.) Regardless, the effect is still there and it feels as if you are walking aside Riggan through this mid-life crisis to end all mid-life crises.
Is Birman the best film of all time, of course not. It can be slow at times, Emma Swan’s character can be a bit of a nuisance, and it can venture too far into the “artsy and pretentious” realm at some points. However, it is unique. Overtime I watch it I am sucked in to the story by all the energy and effort that obviously went into every scene. There is no film exactly like Birman and that is why i highly recommend seeing it.