It’s hard to up the intrigue quotient for “Birdman.” The new drama, which Fox Searchlight releases in October, comes from the perpetually interesting Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu, is shot by the top-notch cinematographer known as Chivo and features an all-star cast that includes Edward Norton, Amy Ryan, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone and Zach Galifianakis.
On top of all that, its lead role is incarnated by Michael Keaton, the titular Birdman, who is riffing on his own Batman past starring as a washed-up superhero actor named Riggan Thomson who turns to a role on Broadway at a moment of crisis.
On Thursday, Searchlight released the first teaser for the film. It didn’t disappoint. The piece had a brooding, literary, almost fabulist quality. Over a slowed-down, stripped-down version of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” Keaton could be seen in poses manic (running half-naked through Times Square) adulatory (greeting his public) and combative (fighting with Norton, who’s the one half-naked this time). There’s a cutaway to the play-within-the-movie as well as to the movie-within-the-movie, as Keaton in the latter shot is shown as a bird-morphing, world-saving superhero. Also, the subtitle is, with endearing bookishness, "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance."
“How did we end up here in this dump,” Keaton’s internal monologue goes as he wanders backstage. “You were a movie star, remember?”
Then he says, “You’re Birdman. Let’s go back one more time and show them what we're capable of.” The film should be doing that soon enough.
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