Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has made plenty of excellent films that have garnered critical and Oscar attention. But according to early reviews out of the Venice Film Festival, Birdman may be his finest yet. The cast and crew are all getting raves, but it looks like it is Michael Keaton that is the center of the film, and of the critics positive reviews. He apparently is electrifying and could well be on his way to his first Oscar nomination.
Peter DeBruge from Variety writes:
"Alejandro G. Inarritu’s fifth and best feature provides the delirious coup de grace — a triumph on every creative level, from casting to execution, that will electrify the industry, captivate arthouse and megaplex crowds alike, send awards pundits into orbit and give fresh wings to Keaton’s career."
Full review at: http://variety.com/2014/film/reviews/venice-film-review-birdman-or-the-unexpected-virtue-of-ignorance-1201287921/
Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter had a similar response:
"Birdman flies very, very high. Intense emotional currents and the jagged feelings of volatile actors are turned loose to raucous dramatic and darkly comedic effect in one of the most sustained examples of visually fluid tour de force cinema anyone's ever seen, all in the service of a story that examines the changing nature of celebrity and the popular regard for fame over creative achievement. An exemplary cast, led by Michael Keaton in the highly self-referential title role of a former superhero-film star in desperate need of a legitimizing comeback, fully meets the considerable demands placed upon it by director Alejandro G. Inarritu, as he now signs his name."
Full Review: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movie/birdman/review/727190
And if you keep digging, you will continue to find a plethora of positive reviews, all along the same vein, praising the efforts of Inarritu, Keaton, the crew, and supporting turns from Edward Norton and Emma Stone. As always, there is an important disclaimer to early festival reviews. We do not know how these films will play to a broader consensus, to the American populous, or more importantly, to Academy voters. But if it can maintain this buzz, it is sure to be a contender through this long season ahead.