I've finally come around to watching Birdman. As so often I didn't have time to go and see it in the cinema and the dvd has been lying on my shelf for ages. I quite liked it. I especially liked what to most viewers will be a minor detail.
The film follows Riggan Thomson, an aging actor best known for playing the superhero Birdman some 20 years earlier, as he struggles to stage a Broadway adaptation of Raymond Carver's short story "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love."
Thomson not only directs and stars in the play, he also co-finances it. He has what Nassim Taleb calls skin in the game. I therefore fundamentally disagree with the theatre critic in the movie who, a day before the premiere, berates Thomson for being a superficial Hollywood star who uses his money to stage a Broadway show, thereby taking up space that could have been used by more talented but cash-strapped directors.
In the end Thomson succeeds because he puts everything at stake, his career, his relationships, his money and even his life. The irony is that his failed on-stage suicide attempt rescues the production and his career. If you wish, you could consider this a critique of our current cultural climate, in which hyper realism is valued more than make believe.
On a technical level I also liked the film's cinematography and its original music segments consisting of drum solos by jazz drummer Antonio Sánchez.