Brilliantly performed, superbly shot and fairly funny there is a lot to like about Birdman.
And yet, I came away sort of hating it.
I found it seemed to elicit thriller style tension rather than sympathy in it's multiple scenes dealing with suicide, we spend the entire film inside Keaton's head yet it wants to play games over what is real or not rather than dig into his psyche in any meaningful way.
It's supposed deep revelations are trite cliche. It is not especially interesting to comment on the fact people like to be entertained by what some may find junk. It is incredibly old fashioned about the role of critics and both cries foul over their pointlessness and gives them ultimate power (it's hard to judge whether any one Broadway critic could have ever closed a production with a single bad review but certainly now in the age of social media and immediate audience response that role has vanished). It makes the critic the villain, almost cackling as she decides to destroy his play before even seeing it, giving her snobbery over Keaton's movie past as a motive. Which just confounds the movies message further. He is sinking all his money into the production and she doesn't care, but her job is disappearing and he sees no value, no art in what she does. It treats this character in the most banal way possible, something that is true of most in the film with perhaps the exception of Ed Norton's character who is the most fascinating, and most repulsive of the lot. it tips too far to the latter though when he attempts to rape someone on stage and scene that dismisses the ickiness of that moment to play it for laughs.
All of these people banging against each other and none of it seems to mean anything.