Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Within the university, there is a regular film showing every week in which a different film is shown each week. This weeks showing was of the 2014  film Birdman directed by Alejando G. It is considered to be a satirical black comedy-drama, which addresses issues of aging and growing older. It does also have other themes throughout the film such as drug addiction, and physical intimacy.

The film follows an aging hollywood actor, who had a successful career  in a series of superhero films. This film is set within a theater on Broadway as this actor attempts to direct and star in a play by Raymond Carver ‘What we talk about when we talk about love’. He faces fears of being forgotten and not being loved as he gets older. There are also fears of the idea that he is not taken seriously in the theater industry, as seen when he argues with a critic over the review she was going to write for the play.

The film also looks at the relationship between this man and his daughter, who has recently been released from a rehab facility. There is apart in the film where she brings her farther attention to the fact that the human race is very insignificant. This is a turning point in the film (for the character) as you can see how he come to accept that in todays online social world his actions don’t matter (in the fact that people will not remember). But this also has an impact upon their relationship with each other, as his daughter shows him a video of him running through the street in only his underwear (he got locked outside the theater) she starts to see him in a new light. Before we can only make the assumption that she feels like a screw up, but after this she begins to se that her father is human too. They grow a little closer with them accepting that they are both screw ups.

In a lot of films music is used as a non-diagetic sound track over the film. However within Birdman music is at the foreground of the film and is actually within the film itself. There are instances when drumming can be heard, at first it might appear as a sound track, but it is revealed that there is a drummer outside the theater. There is instance when the main character approaches a climactic act when you can see the drummer inside the theater. This drumming can be argued to be used as a means to create a feeling of building anxiety which the main charter is feeling. As such there are instances where you don’t hear any drumming at all.

There are also ideas of self-identity within this film, as the persona of the actors film career takes on a voice (slightly menacing), and later on in the film the voice of ‘Birdman’ takes on a physical persona which only the main character can see. Birdman becomes more and more solidified as the main character comes to accept his decision to attempt suicide.


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