MV5BODAzNDMxMzAxOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDMxMjA4MjE@._V1_SX214_AL_What’s it all about?

A washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero must overcome his ego and family trouble as he mounts a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim his past glory.

Why did I want to see it?

Like Nightcrawler (one of my favourite films of last year) Birdman sneaked in under the radar. I knew very little about it until I started reading the overwhelmingly positive reviews, seeing similar comments on Twitter, and finally hearing a really great interview with Michael Keaton and Sanjeev Bhaskar (who was standing in for Simon Mayo on Wittertainment last week). So obviously I couldn’t resist especially as I was looking for something a bit different after the experience that was Exodus….

What did I think of it?

I really wasn’t sure at first but after about 20 minutes I got into the swing of it and in the end really really enjoyed it. I hadn’t expected it to be quite so funny and I laughed out loud several times. It’s a gloriously sweary and shouty (in a good way) film with a fantastic cast; seriously, there isn’t a duff performance in it, but more of that in a second. I’m an absolute sucker for backstage dramas anyway and the story of a Hollywood star putting everything on the line to do something meaningful on the stage while every single member of the public he meets wants him to be Birdman just adds that extra something, especially when real-life stars are referenced (George Clooney’s chin gets a mention if I remember correctly), so I just loved it. Technically it’s marvellous, edited so that it looks like one long tracking shot, and the magical realism stuff is used sparingly but effectively.

But it’s really the acting that delivers here. Keaton is fantastic (I’d forgotten how much I loved him) but Edward Norton is also very cool and I have developed a huge soft spot for Emma Stone who plays Keaton’s daughter. I cheered (inwardly) at Lindsay Duncan’s cameo as a NY theatre critic – she just acted everyone off the screen for the 10 minutes she was on (I’ve always adored her). And I thought Zack Galifianikis was really good, a bit of a surprise as I was only aware of him in relation to the Hangover films (which are so not my cup of tea), but I liked his character very much.

And I don’t care what some have said, I liked the ending, it was just right.

So if you want something grown-up and a clever and a bit different then you really should give this a try. Will definitely want to see it again.