Birdman (2014), Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu

Deliriously funny and poignant, Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu’s 2014 Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), gradually treats us with small doses of wisdom drugs as it reaches a crescendo of lucid madness, before administering a treatment for life’s meaninglessness.

birdman-2How does a man, on the threshold of madness, between his long gone, careless youth and his dreaded autumn years, solve a grave existential crisis caused by his own poor choices? Obviously, he turns against himself, as Birdman‘s Riggan Thomson does. But as he knows to be the only one capable of extracting himself from the black hole of self-contempt, our (literally!) hero also understands that redemption as the cure for his malaise can only work with the involvement of the people who hurt, and have been hurt by, Riggan. Thus, he embarks on an involuntarily last hurrah journey… Continue reading

The Master (2012), Paul Thomas Anderson

An ambitious trip towards the deep subconscious of Man, Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2012 The Master showcases a gladiatorial battle of wits between a perturbed individual, exacerbated by his animal appetites, and an apparently civilized and yet animalistic man of letters.

the-master-2Don’t be fooled by the presence of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the supposedly titular character. Although Lancaster Dodd, as the founder of a cult, looks the type, he might not even be the master of himself. Is Freddie Quell, on the other hand, enough of a daring anti-hero to be called an Übermensch? Paul Thomas Anderson – one of the greatest filmmakers of the last twenty year, who seems to never put a foot wrong – looks into the eyes of archetypal America in order to explain the trends of nowadays. Continue reading

Margaret (2011), Kenneth Lonergan

A philosophical hornet’s nest which gradually gets stirred up, Kenneth Lonergan’s 2011 Margaret – a film with fine shades of right and wrong – accomplishes in three hours what most of us never do in a lifetime, i.e. it acknowledges the blurred line between the good and the bad guys.

margaret-2Oh life, what a messy business! Some argue that Margaret shares plenty of the same chaos – uneven and brutally unfocused, this three-hour mess of a movie can’t hold on to its emotional core. To me, this is exactly what makes the picture an accomplished piece of film-making. Part of its geniality is this ability to expose life as it is: random and chaotic. As she herself realises, the film’s main character’s ethical dilemma does not stop the world from spinning… Continue reading