By Dan Clendenin
I almost skipped this movie after a friend described it as a sort of "magic realism." But I watched it because it's by a favorite director, Alejandro González Iñárritu (Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel, and Biutiful). I'm glad I did. Riggan Thomson, played by Michael Keaton, is a Hollywood-has-been who made millions as an apocalyptic super-hero called Birdman. He also lost his soul in the process. So now Thomson is trying to do something meaningful to boost his self-esteem — to direct and star in a Broadway rendition of a Raymond Carver play. As if an aging actor's low self esteem was not bad enough, real life in the thespian world, where actors make a living by pretending to be someone else, looks worse. In Iñárritu's hands, reality and imagination merge in Birdman's past and present. As Anthony Lane put it, it's bad enough to dread being a nobody, but worse still what it can take to be a success in the eyes of others.