During my days as a film journo, i met Q (director of films like Gandu and Tasher Desh) in a cafe. An insightful personality, he admitted that being a filmmaker, he takes it upon himself to test his audience. His point was pretty simple: You can't always spoonfeed people. Months later, i read Nicolas Winding Refn saying something similar vis-à-vis Only God Forgives. Mr Refn went a step further though by confessing that his original intention is to fuck with the minds of those who'd bother to watch his much-derided movie. In his defense, being filmmakers, they have every right to do the way they please in their medium of expression. So, there's no point in taking up a stand on the subject of so-called artistic integrity. But the question remains: Do they really achieve what they wanted with their methods? Turns out Alejandro González Iñárritu did—and how! His Oscar-decorated Birdman was as genuine it could get. One of those rare films wherein you're taken on a walk without your hand being held. Despite all of that, people found its climax open-ended—confusing, according to some—when it's not. Whichever way you look at it, a great film is always open to interpretations. Hence, i'm forwarding mine although i could be wrong as i usually am.
Spoiler Alert: The film actually ends when Michael Keaton's Riggan Thomson shoots himself on the stage in front of the crowd. Technically, that is. Whatever happens next is pure fantasy. A possibility. An abstract vision of everybody who is involved in the making, especially the writer-director. Remember the next scene shows Thomson in a hospital? And for a pleasant change, Birdman is not bothering him anymore. In fact, this is the first time we don't get to hear him brainwash Thomson. On the contrary, we see Thomson telling him to fuck off and to add weight to that moment, Birdman is shown flushing the toilet. A shitty goodbye of sorts? Maybe, just maybe, because Thomson died on the stage itself, Birdman can't be interested in a dead protagonist. On the brighter side, Thomson is no more and with him dies his demons too. He's finally free...like a bird. Makes sense?
Conclusion: Filmmakers should fuck with us—or our minds, whichever is less appealing—more often.