Full title: "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" is about an over-the-hill actor who once played a movie superhero only to walk away from fame and fortune. Now he would like to recapture that life by mounting a play on Broadway. And NO, Michael Keaton ("Batman" 1989) says this is NOT about his own life although he can see why people might think so.
Directed by the audacious Alejandro González Iñárritu ("Biutiful") we are treated to a star-studded cast and a brilliant, R-rated script. Emmanuel Lubezki's camera work deserves special mention: We feel we are watching long single takes with no editing or cutting. It's daring and the actors have to be on their toes. We follow them through the labyrinthine belly of a Broadway theater with twists and turns that lead to dialogue in various dressing rooms, etc. with no sense that the scene has been cut or edited. Very impressive.
Be prepared for nudity, some profanity, a bit of smoking (both regular and controlled substances) and lengthy scenes with either Norton or Keaton in tighty whities.
I felt that key plot points were telegraphed a bit too broadly, but maybe I just see too many movies. Ya think? I will say this turns out to be unpredictable. I kept thinking I knew where it was going, but then....
You should see this before Oscar time so you will know what everyone is talking about.