Birdman

Film

Drama

Birdman

Time Out rating:

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Time Out says

Wed Aug 27

‘Most of the successful people in Hollywood are failures as human beings.’ So said Marlon Brando. But what happens when their 15 minutes are up? It’s not like failure suddenly transforms former mega-celebs into humble human beings who can pick up their own coffee from Starbucks. That's Michael Keaton’s problem in this savagely funny, strangely sweet, sad and utterly brilliant New York-set comedy from Mexican writer-director Alejandro González Iñárritu, better known for his gloomy, state-of-the world dramas 'Babel' and '21 Grams'.

Keaton is Riggan Thomson, an actor who raked in the cash in the early 1990s as a lame pre-‘Avengers’ superhero in a blockbuster franchise (a clear nod to Keaton's own days as Batman). He hasn’t made a Birdman film in years – but Birdman is still part of him. Quite literally: there's a naff, booming comic voice in his head (‘You're the real deal’), and it gives him superhuman powers. Is Birdman a figment of Riggan's imagination? Is this a dig at superstar actors with inflated egos who have trouble telling the difference between real-life and their movie characters? Whatever it is, Riggan has problems. He’s trying to reinvent himself for a second act as a Serious Artist, remortgaging the house in Malibu to write, direct and star in an adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story on Broadway. But Birdman is shitting on the plan, telling Riggan to make a reality TV show instead of this ‘piece of shit’.

'Birdman' is hilarious simply as a film about putting on a play, shot by Iñárritu in a jittery, handheld style. Emma Stone, with ripped tights and bleached hair, is brutally funny as Riggan's messed-up daughter, fresh out of rehab. There’s something a bit Wes Anderson for grown-ups about these people. Edward Norton is a stage actor a couple of decades too old for his bad boy, rock-star-of-Broadway routine, who joins the troubled play at the eleventh hour. When he gets an erection on stage, Stone waspishly points out it's getting more Twitter reviews than the play.

This isn't the super-cynical, snarky piss-take of actors it might sound like. Iñárritu feels for these people. Norton, hitting on Stone, tells her with disarming sincerity that, if he could have any part of her, it would be her eyes – so he could see New York again as a 20-year-old. It’s an extraordinarily touching moment. Best of all, Keaton is dream casting, and he’s fearless, never holding back with the rodent-like, twitchy facial tics. The film's subtitle is: ‘The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance.’ And the brutal truth is even when he’s trying to be a good dad, Riggan can never get past his own ego. And that same ego (Birdman?) will also protect him from life's slings and arrows.

We know Iñárritu has a dark side (just look at his previous films like ‘Amores Perros’ and ‘Babel'), and it's not entirely hidden here. Life is disappointing, his film is saying (it opens with a Carver quote, ‘Did you get what you wanted out of life?'). But it's also beautiful and, at times, unexpected. This film does real justice to that idea: it's dazzling and rambling, intimate and sprawling, and it's carried along by an infectious, off-the-cuff jazz score. As soon as it ends, you'll be dying to fly with it again.

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Release details

UK release:

Fri Jan 2, 2015

Duration:

119 mins

Cinemas showing Birdman

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Odeon Covent Garden

135 Shaftesbury Ave, London, WC2H 8HA Show map/details

  • Address:

    Odeon Covent Garden 135 Shaftesbury Ave
    London
    WC2H 8HA

Map
  • Fri Dec 26:

    • 12:10
    • 15:00
    • 17:50
    • 20:40
  • Sat Dec 27:

    • 12:10
    • 15:00
    • 17:50
    • 20:40
  • Wed Dec 31:

    • 12:10
    • 15:00
    • 17:50
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 12:10
    • 15:00
    • 17:50
    • 20:40

Soho Curzon

93-107 Shaftesbury Ave, London, W1D 5DY Show map/details

  • Address:

    Soho Curzon 93-107 Shaftesbury Ave
    London
    W1D 5DY

  • Opening hours:

    Box office 0870 756 4620

  • Transport:

    Tube: Leicester Sq

  • Map

    1. Soho Curzon
      • 93-107 Shaftesbury Ave
        London
        W1D 5DY
      • 51.512794,-0.130461
Map
  • Fri Dec 26:

    • 13:00
    • 15:40
    • 18:20
    • 21:00
  • Sat Dec 27:

    • 13:00
    • 15:40
    • 18:20
    • 21:00
  • Sun Dec 28:

    • 12:45
    • 15:20
    • 18:00
    • 20:50
  • Mon Dec 29:

    • 13:00
    • 15:40
    • 18:20
    • 21:00
  • Tue Dec 30:

    • 13:00
    • 15:40
    • 18:20
    • 21:00
  • Wed Dec 31:

    • 12:15
    • 14:50
    • 17:30
    • 20:00
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 13:00
    • 15:40
    • 18:20
    • 21:00

ICA

The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH Show map/details

  • Address:

    ICA The Mall
    London
    SW1Y 5AH

  • Venue phone:

    020 7930 3647

  • Venue website:

    www.ica.org.uk

  • Opening hours:

    Tue (Free), Wed, Fri-Sun 11am-6pm; Thu 11am-9pm. Bar: Tue-Sun 11am–11pm.

  • Transport:

    Tube: Charing Cross

  • Price:

    £1 Day membership; free Tue, under 18s and concs

  • Map

    1. ICA
      • The Mall
        London
        SW1Y 5AH
      • 020 7930 3647
      • www.ica.org.uk
      • 51.506609,-0.130585
Map
  • Fri Jan 2 2015:

    • 16:00
    • 18:30
    • 20:50
  • Sat Jan 3 2015:

    • 16:00
    • 18:30
    • 20:50
  • Sun Jan 4 2015:

    • 16:00
    • 18:30
    • 20:50
  • Tue Jan 6 2015:

    • 16:00
    • 18:30
    • 20:50
  • Wed Jan 7 2015:

    • 16:00
    • 18:30
    • 20:50
  • Thu Jan 8 2015:

    • 16:00
    • 18:30
    • 20:50

Haymarket Cineworld

62-65 Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4RL Show map/details

  • Address:

    Haymarket Cineworld 62-65 Haymarket
    London
    SW1Y 4RL

Map
  • Fri Dec 26:

    • 12:45
    • 15:30
    • 18:15
    • 21:00
  • Sat Dec 27:

    • 12:45
    • 15:30
    • 18:15
    • 21:00
  • Sun Dec 28:

    • 12:45
    • 15:30
    • 18:15
    • 21:00
  • Mon Dec 29:

    • 12:45
    • 15:30
    • 18:15
    • 21:00
  • Tue Dec 30:

    • 12:45
    • 15:30
    • 18:15
    • 21:00
  • Wed Dec 31:

    • 11:00
    • 13:45
    • 16:30
    • 19:15
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 12:45
    • 15:30
    • 18:15
    • 21:00

Barbican Centre

Silk St, London, EC2Y 8DS Show map/details

  • Address:

    Barbican Centre Silk St
    London
    EC2Y 8DS

  • Venue phone:

    020 7638 8891

  • Venue website:

    www.barbican.org.uk

  • Opening hours:

    Centre Mon-Sat 9am-11pm; Sun noon-11pm. Art Gallery Mon, Tue, Wed, Sat, Sun 10am-6pm; Thu, Fri 10am–9pm. The Curve Mon, Tue, Wed, Sat, Sun 11am–8pm; Thu, Fri 11am–9pm. Christmas closure Dec 24, 25, 26.

  • Transport:

    Tube: Barbican

  • Map

    1. Barbican Centre
Map
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 15:30
    • 18:15
    • 20:45

Curzon Victoria

58, Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5JL Show map/details

  • Address:

    58
    Curzon Victoria Victoria Street
    London
    SW1E 5JL

Map
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 18:25
    • 21:00

Everyman Baker Street

96-98 Baker St, London, W1U 6TJ Show map/details

  • Address:

    Everyman Baker Street 96-98 Baker St
    London
    W1U 6TJ

Map
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 20:20
  • Address:

    Marble Arch Odeon London
    W2 2EH

Map
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 19:10
    • 22:00

The Screen On The Green

83 Upper St, London, N1 ONU Show map/details

  • Address:

    The Screen On The Green 83 Upper St
    London
    N1 ONU

  • Transport:

    Tube: Angel; Bus: 38, 43, 73

  • Map

    1. The Screen On The Green
      • 83 Upper St
        London
        N1 ONU
      • 51.536508,-0.103719
Map
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 15:25
    • 18:15
    • 21:10

Camden Town Odeon

Parkway, London, NW1 7AA Show map/details

  • Address:

    Camden Town Odeon Parkway
    London
    NW1 7AA

Map
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 12:30
    • 13:15
    • 18:00
    • 21:00

Rich Mix

35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London, E1 6LA Show map/details

  • Address:

    Rich Mix 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd
    London
    E1 6LA

  • Venue phone:

    020 7613 7498

  • Venue website:

    www.richmix.org.uk

  • Opening hours:

    Daily 9am-11pm

  • Transport:

    Tube: Liverpool St; Rail: Shoreditch High St Overground

  • Map

    1. Rich Mix
Map
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 17:45

Maida Vale Everyman

215 Sutherland Ave, Maida Vale, London, W9 1RU Show map/details

  • Address:

    Maida Vale Everyman 215 Sutherland Ave
    Maida Vale
    London
    W9 1RU

Map
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 20:30

The Lounge At Odeon

Whiteleys Shopping Centre, (Queensway), London, W2 4YN Show map/details

  • Address:

    The Lounge At Odeon Whiteleys Shopping Centre
    London
    W2 4YN

Map
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 13:30
    • 16:00
    • 18:45
    • 21:30
  • Fri Jan 2 2015:

    • 18:45
    • 21:30
  • Sat Jan 3 2015:

    • 13:30
    • 16:00
    • 18:45
    • 21:30
  • Sun Jan 4 2015:

    • 13:30
    • 16:00
    • 18:45
    • 21:30
  • Mon Jan 5 2015:

    • 18:45
    • 21:30
  • Tue Jan 6 2015:

    • 18:45
    • 21:30
  • Wed Jan 7 2015:

    • 18:45
    • 21:30

Cineworld Fulham Road

142 Fulham Road, SW10 9QR Show map/details

  • Address:

    Cineworld Fulham Road 142 Fulham Road
    SW10 9QR

Map
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 18:00
    • 20:50

Odeon Holloway

419-427, Holloway Road, London, N7 6LJ Show map/details

  • Address:

    419-427
    Odeon Holloway Holloway Road
    London
    N7 6LJ

  • Venue phone:

    0871 224 4007

  • Venue website:

    www.odeon.co.uk

  • Transport:

    Tube: Holloway Road

  • Map

    1. Odeon Holloway
      • 419-427
        Holloway Road
        London
        N7 6LJ
      • 0871 224 4007
      • www.odeon.co.uk
      • 51.559071,-0.12271
Map
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 18:20
    • 21:00

Odeon Surrey Quays

Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, Redriff Road, London, SE16 7LL Show map/details

  • Address:

    Odeon Surrey Quays Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, Redriff Road
    London
    SE16 7LL

  • Venue phone:

    0871 224 4007

  • Venue website:

    www.odeon.uk

  • Transport:

    Tube: Surrey Quays

  • Map

    1. Odeon Surrey Quays
      • Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, Redriff Road
        London
        SE16 7LL
      • 0871 224 4007
      • www.odeon.uk
      • 51.495398,-0.046969
Map
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 20:00

Gate Cinema Notting Hill

87 Notting Hill Gate, London, W11 3JZ Show map/details

  • Address:

    Gate Cinema Notting Hill 87 Notting Hill Gate
    London
    W11 3JZ

Map
  • Sun Dec 28:

    • 17:30
  • Fri Jan 2 2015:

    • 13:10
    • 15:40
    • 18:10
    • 20:45
  • Sat Jan 3 2015:

    • 12:40
    • 15:15
    • 18:00
    • 20:35
  • Sun Jan 4 2015:

    • 14:15
    • 17:00
    • 19:45
  • Mon Jan 5 2015:

    • 13:10
    • 15:40
    • 18:10
    • 20:45
  • Tue Jan 6 2015:

    • 13:10
    • 15:40
    • 18:10
    • 20:45
  • Wed Jan 7 2015:

    • 13:10
    • 15:40
    • 18:10
    • 20:45

Clapham Picturehouse

76 Venn St, London, SW4 0AT Show map/details

  • Address:

    Clapham Picturehouse 76 Venn St
    London
    SW4 0AT

Map
  • Sun Dec 28:

    • 14:30
    • 17:30
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 12:45
    • 15:30
    • 18:15
    • 21:00
  • Fri Jan 2 2015:

    • 12:30
    • 15:15
    • 18:00
    • 20:45
  • Sat Jan 3 2015:

    • 14:15
    • 17:00
    • 19:40
    • 22:15
  • Sun Jan 4 2015:

    • 14:15
    • 17:00
    • 19:45
  • Mon Jan 5 2015:

    • 13:00
    • 15:45
    • 18:30
    • 21:10
  • Tue Jan 6 2015:

    • 13:00
    • 15:45
    • 18:30
    • 21:10
  • Wed Jan 7 2015:

    • 13:00
    • 15:45
    • 18:30
    • 21:10

Ritzy Cinema Brixton

Brixton Oval, Coldharbour Lane, London, SW2 1JG Show map/details

  • Address:

    Brixton Oval
    Ritzy Cinema Brixton Coldharbour Lane
    London
    SW2 1JG

Map
  • Fri Dec 26:

    • 12:50
    • 15:40
    • 18:30
    • 20:00
    • 21:20
  • Sat Dec 27:

    • 12:50
    • 15:40
    • 18:30
    • 21:20
  • Sun Dec 28:

    • 11:40
    • 14:30
    • 17:20
    • 20:10
  • Mon Dec 29:

    • 12:40
    • 15:30
    • 18:20
    • 21:10
  • Tue Dec 30:

    • 12:40
    • 15:30
    • 18:20
    • 19:45
    • 21:10
  • Wed Dec 31:

    • 12:40
    • 15:30
    • 18:20
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 12:40
    • 15:30
    • 18:20
    • 21:10
  • Fri Jan 2 2015:

    • 11:00
    • 15:30
    • 18:20
    • 20:00
    • 21:10
  • Sat Jan 3 2015:

    • 12:40
    • 15:30
    • 18:20
    • 20:00
    • 21:10
  • Sun Jan 4 2015:

    • 11:40
    • 14:00
    • 14:30
    • 17:20
    • 20:10
  • Mon Jan 5 2015:

    • 12:40
    • 15:30
    • 18:20
    • 19:30
    • 21:10
  • Tue Jan 6 2015:

    • 12:40
    • 15:30
    • 18:20
    • 21:10
  • Wed Jan 7 2015:

    • 12:40
    • 15:30
    • 18:20
    • 21:10

Kensington Odeon

Kensington High St, London, W8 6NA Show map/details

  • Address:

    Kensington Odeon Kensington High St
    London
    W8 6NA

Map
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 12:15
    • 15:15
    • 18:00
    • 21:00

Hackney Picturehouse

270 Mare St, London, E8 1HE Show map/details

  • Address:

    Hackney Picturehouse 270 Mare St
    London
    E8 1HE

Map
  • Sun Dec 28:

    • 14:30
    • 17:25

Vue Finchley Road (O2 Centre)

02 Centre, 255 Finchley Rd, London, NW3 6LU Show map/details

  • Address:

    Vue Finchley Road (O2 Centre) 02 Centre, 255 Finchley Rd
    London
    NW3 6LU

  • Venue website:

    www.myvue.com

  • Transport:

    Tube: Finchley Rd

  • Map

    1. Vue Finchley Road (O2 Centre)
      • 02 Centre, 255 Finchley Rd
        London
        NW3 6LU
      • www.myvue.com
      • 51.547947,-0.18139
Map
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 11:15
    • 14:10
    • 17:05
    • 20:15
    • 23:20

Everyman Hampstead

5, Holly Bush Vale, London, NW3 6TX Show map/details

  • Address:

    5
    Everyman Hampstead Holly Bush Vale
    London
    NW3 6TX

Map
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 15:10
    • 18:00
    • 21:00

Cineworld West India Quay

11 Hertsmere Road, West India Quay, London, E14 4AN Show map/details

  • Address:

    Cineworld West India Quay 11 Hertsmere Road
    West India Quay
    London
    E14 4AN

Map
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 12:00
    • 14:50
    • 17:40
    • 20:30

Vue Shepherd's Bush

West 12 Shopping & Leisure Centre, Shepherd's Bush Green, London, W12 8PP Show map/details

  • Address:

    Vue Shepherd's Bush West 12 Shopping & Leisure Centre
    Shepherd's Bush Green
    London
    W12 8PP

  • Venue website:

    www.myvue.com

  • Map

    1. Vue Shepherd's Bush
      • West 12 Shopping & Leisure Centre
        Shepherd's Bush Green
        London
        W12 8PP
      • www.myvue.com
      • 51.503764,-0.21877
Map
  • Thu Jan 1 2015:

    • 19:45
    • 22:40

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