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Recommend Review: Birdman,or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Email)

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An abridged version of this review was originally posted inNathaniel's weekly column at Towleroad.It is reposted here,with their permission.

A card in the bottom right hand of the star's mirror reads:

"A thing is a thing.Not what is said of that thing."
-Susan Sontag

Which immediately complicates or maybe simplifies celebrity and art,two major themes (among a handful) of Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu's one of a kind new film experience.It's destined for major Oscar nominations and you should see it immediately.The movie has the simple and then complicated title ofBirdman,Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)as befits its duality perfectly.This quote is never addressed in the film but it's always stubbornly lodged there in that mirror,defying or playfully encouraging conversation about what this movie actually is. And what is film criticism or its more popular cousin,after-movie conversation over dinner drinks or online other than conversation that attempts to interpret and define?

Critics are often treated with petulant hostility in movies about show business,as if the filmmakers have an axe to grind and need to do that with grindstone in hand while their critical avatar/puppet hangs there limply,waiting to be struck with the sharpened blade.Birdmanis no exception,immediately insulting its formidable theater critic Tabitha (Lindsay Duncan) as having a face that 'looks like she just licked a homeless man's ass,' before she's even spoken a line. But Tabitha is a slippery mark,portrayed as a voice of integrity in one scene and then a vicious unprofessional monster in another.This calls into question the reality of her scenes altogether

...which is not unusual inBirdman.


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