MAN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN: Movie review of Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

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birdmanMichael Keaton’s career has been what I would call somewhat unusual. He hit his stride early with the movie Beetlejuice and Clean and Sober and then was cast as Batman (and today is still many people’s favorite wing man). He looked like an actor on the rise.

Then after that? Well, I’m not sure how to describe it, but he seemed to do whatever he could to not go the way of fellow thespians like Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler, constantly required to star in the same kind of over the top, often obnoxious comedies that made fortunes at the box office (at least for a time) while trying to make more “meaningful” films on the side.

Instead, Keaton seemed to flee iconic roles and try to define himself as a more serious performer. But in the years since those early parts, it felt more like he was trying to find characters to play that would define him as an actor, rather than succeeding in actually reinventing himself.

The results generally fell into two categories: leads in such films as The Paper, Desperate Measures and Speechless, movies that either flopped or no one remembers; and supporting parts in such movies as Much Ado About Nothing, Jackie Brown and Out of Sight, where, for me, he never felt quite comfortable. Read the rest of this entry »