Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Birdman Review


I don't usually choose movies because they've received awards or rave reviews.  Most of the time big winners don't impress me. But there was something about Birdman and what people said about it during the Oscars that compelled me to make sure I didn't miss this one.

I went to see Birdman at a wonderful small theater in town. I went with my daughter, who is also an artist and our dear sisterfriend Margo.

First off, Birdman was fucking genius.
Everything about it.
The screenplay, and directing
wow brilliant.

This film was based on a play by Raymond Carver entitled ,"What We Talk About When We Talk About Love," and the screen play was written by Alejandro Bonzales Inarritu and Nicolas Giacobone and Alexander Dinelaris and Armond Bo.

 The actors shared their own moments of truth.  Their own enslavement to their craft.  Their own self hatred and inspiration.  Michael Keaton was amazing.  The way the Director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, melded the in-time events with what was really going on inside the characters was way out cool.

Everyone's performance was stellar.
It was great seeing real flesh and blood actors with wrinkles and imperfect bodies who had something authentic to express between the lines of the written word and the depths of their own experience. I especially dug Edward Norton, (always a fave), Emma Stone, (she totally blew me away) and Lindsay Duncan, oh hell yeah and Amy Ryan, as subtle as an ocean breeze.
All that being said,
Michael Keaton,
Michael Keaton,
Michael Keaton!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He filled up that screen and expressed a whole lotta somethings that he had lived through,
and gave an in your face performance that stuck

Bek and I talked about this shared experience of being an artist, a creative person, after the movie.
We talked about that moment or lots of those moments
when we reach that point, while we are creating something out of nothing,
when self doubt, and self loathing lifts its grotesque head,
out of the depths of wherever the hell we go for our inspiration
and gurgles up through the sludge of change and chance
until we are overcome
until we reach out and truth leaves a trace of some kind of
creative expression
for the reader or viewer or listener to feel too
that connection between the obscure and the inspired
is what most people never see
That moment or maybe lots of moments
when we experience these private little deaths
when we give ourselves to our work,
our creation
and let go of every
every secret expectation that our work will be validated
and we let go
we jump
we wake up
sweat dripping and running and running
head pounding and excruciating truth
until we can't think any more
and it all
gives way to something far more risky,
something far more
something tangible that the viewer sees

it is our of our hands
it takes on a life of its own
and everything else pales

The final seconds before the curtain rises
when we demand an answer
as though we are asking a judge to find us innocent
and the gavel cracks down hard
and inside the world vanishes
and all we hear is
what difference does this make
this is all insignificant
nobody cares
you are nothing
and then
we step into the nothingness
into the sentence
and we say the next line
or load our brush
or we begin to sculpt or
play another note
and then we are there
we are swirling around in that moment
second by second
creating something to hold onto
something that won't disappear
but something that will always

This movie blew my mind.
The awards it received were wonderful and well deserved.
But the experience of seeing this movie in the theater
the artist and the craft being splayed in the darkness lit by the wide screen
was like going through a living breathing autopsy
It was the metaphorical journey of an artist
the insecurities
the questioning
wrestling with that great big question
what difference will all of this make
and the ultimate answer that echoes time and again
it doesn't matter
its all insignificant
you are insignificant
oh man oh man

My favorite things?  The story has substance and people look real. People have wrinkles and imperfect bodies and they don't know what the hell is going on. They are hanging on by a thread just long enough to take an entire audience with them, as they delve deep and deeper still into the creative process. This is what the artist, the musician, the writer, the performer lives and breathes.

This is the sacrifice that most people never understand.
This is the torment and this is the bliss
this is the wound and this is the healing death
this silent primal scream that springs from the depth of our gut
until we are finished
until we are wrung out and nothing else is left
until its over
we slip away
with the hope that just maybe
maybe someone else feels it too

and that's it
the completion
the opening
the death
the life
the expression
all there
all hidden
all out in the open

oh by the way
the drummer was the heart beat that pulled this whole dealeo
he was the beat

yeah it was pure genius

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