• Yaser Al-Nyrabeah

Birdman (2014) - There is Actually a Lesson to be Learned

As every man, woman and child across the globe are collectively ordered to stay at home at the peak of an unprecedented pandemic, some of you, like myself and many other working adults, are somehow finding it difficult to keep sane as we grow more uncertain of what our future holds, what will happen to our jobs, educations, and how will we get our lives back together when all this is over. While we struggle to find ways to feed our minds a few minutes of distraction, one of the most familiar ways to do so, as we all know, is through film and television. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 2014 Academy winner for best picture, Birman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance), may be the key to taking us into the depths of art and away from stress and anxiety.

While the film’s title is already strange and distracting all in itself, what really captivates the audience is not the story of the washed-up superhero actor who attempts to revive his fading career through a Broadway production, but it’s the film’s unusual and incredibly difficult single-take extensive shots that do not pause, cut to black, nor fade away, not even for a second.

Nevertheless, this is the least of aspects of this masterpiece that would be the distracting part, two major ways Iñárritu causes your mind to ponder (without releasing any major spoilers) is by having you ask yourself where the score of the film or music playing is really coming from? Is it all the same? Is it two different things? Does it break the “fourth wall”? What really is going on? And last but not least… The ending. What is it? What does it tell us? Is there a sequel? It doesn’t seem like it. But it also doesn’t seem like it quite ended when those credits start rolling. That, we will never know. Why? Because maybe the intention for the film itself is to make you think and decide for yourself what it is and how it ends. Maybe, it’s meant to shine in times of quarantine, like today, where our only wish is to have something that’ll keep our minds thinking. The only thing we can say for sure to help you figure out that ending in your head is… Make sure you don’t skip that opening shot. Is it important? Maybe. Or maybe that’s just a distraction, too.

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