I will start by saying that I was oddly satisfied by this movie. I read many reviews online and from critics before the Oscars that warned me to stay away because they felt it was boring and a waste of time. After seeing the film take the most prestigious award of the night, I figured that I would give it a shot.
Michael Keaton gave a performance that was both satirical and genuine. Maybe I am wrong when I say this, but I think that many people didn't realize it was supposed to be a parody of stars today. Riggan Thomson AKA "Birdman" was a man who had once hit it big with a superhero movie franchise and was longing for the old fame and money to be right back on his lap. He decided that he will do anything to not be forgotten, which is why he is attempting to write, direct and act in his own adaptation of a work by Raymond Carver. Riggan even goes as far as to shoot his own nose off to get the publicity needed to get good reviews. Riggan has a voice inside of him telling him to return to his former glory and make another Birdman movie, but his heart knows he cannot stoop to that level. He has to do something that will set him apart from other so-called "actors" in Hollywood.
Edward Norton gave my favorite preformance of the movie. He plays big time Broadway star, Mike Shiner. Riggan scores big time and lands Shiner after we learn that he quit the last gig he had. So, with the help of Jake, Riggan's lawyer and best friend (played by Zach Galifinakis) he was brought on to the cast to help resurrect the play. The first scene that Norton is introduced, I was in awe of his ability to take over the screen. He commanded the attention of the audience when he was on stage giving it his all, as well as when he was back stage trying to figure out what he was doing with his life. A man who was lost without show business, he had no place to go but inside, and we see that when he gives a powerful talk with Emma Stone's character, Sam, on the rooftop of the theatre.
On the surface, it was a rather dull movie that dragged on with a "one-take" camera style. Although I did come to enjoy that style of filming as the movie progressed, others did not. But if you dig deeper, you get the realization that some stars in our society love the spotlight more than anything. Sometimes, more than their own families. They don't want to be on an episode of "Where Are They Now?", and this was a dig at how far some of them would go to not be forgotten.