Birdman not only surprised me completely...it restored my faith in the power & possibilities of filmmaking. No, I'm not saying the film's a masterpiece, but Birdman's technical achievements, its intelligent, sharp writing, and it's mesmerizing starpower makes it worth seeing. For the entirety of the first act, I was afraid that Birdman would sink into mediocrity, as Michael Keaton's Riggan Thomson wasn't characterized as well as I wanted him to; yes, we get the sense he's a weathered man trying to breathe new life into his career, but it was never fully established to me that his career in the past, as Birdman, was a living heaven. That being said, Riggan Thomson is still a fantastic character of maniacal proportions whose flawed mind helps make this film unpredictable at virtually every turn. Thomson's dual desperations for both a fresh start on Broadway and a fresh start with family helps make this film's last 30 minutes all but exceptional. Keaton portrays his character with loads of nuance, and the same can be said for the rest of the cast, who are all incredible, but especially Edward Norton as a famous Broadway actor and Naomi Watts as a former lover of that actor. Emmanuel Lubezki's continuous one-shot cinematography, while not immersive, is an experiment that will be cherished and looked upon for decades as a textbook example of what a camera is capable of. My only big flaw with Birdman is its moderate lack of rewatch value, as watching the film really works on your head, trying to put your mind around all of this movie's deep layers. Inarritu, you've proven yourself a master filmmaker. Audiences, you won't be disappointed.