The beginning of Birdman is very shaky – uneven to the point that I thought it would never recover, but as with most of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s work, it regained its balance and became unshakably entertaining until the end. Michael Keaton turns in a career-defining performance and he has the perfect sparing partner in Edward Norton, who is a good sport about playing a self-important and difficult actor – a label Norton’s had to endure for most of his life. The cast does an excellent job bringing this difficult script to life, and they are aided by top-notch technical work. The cutting in this film is nearly invisible, thanks to virtuoso editor Douglas Crise and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezski. Inarritu wildly succeeds where so many self-referential and oddball showbiz movies fail: he created an earnest and honest appraisal of celebrity without bringing the pity party with him.