Click on the poster for the theatrical trailer.
"Shave off that pathetic goatee. Get some surgery. Sixty's the New Thirty, motherfucker!"
Birdman/Riggan Thomas (Michael Keaton)
Mr. Michael Keaton, welcome back to the big time, Sir! Batman vs. Hulk: FIGHT!
Perhaps that is a little unfair - Keaton has been providing solid output on the sidelines for quite some time, working with the likes of Will Ferrell (The Other Guys) and Tom Hanks (Toy Story 3). But there is no doubt that Keaton has not hit the heights of his Tim Burton-directed stints as troubled vigilante Batman for a while. Well his agents are certainly ironing their shirts and pressing their suits in anticipation of all the big scripts that should start pouring through their mailboxes... And deservedly so. For Keaton is a revelation in director Alejandro González Iñárritu's jet-black comedy-drama about a washed-up, former Hollywood megastar searching for meaning to his life by putting on a vanity project on Broadway, with all the farcical and psychological implications one can imagine this side of Noises Off! Not that Keaton is alone in attracting superlatives - Edward Norton has arguably never been better as Method-craving prima donna stage actor Mike Shiner, consistently battling Keaton's Riggan Thomas in a hilarious dick-measuring contest of talent and ability. Emma Stone proves again why she is the most exciting young actress of her generation, while supporting actors (players?) Zach Galafianakis, Naomi Watts and Andrea Riseborough add rich threads to the film's tapestry.
Iñárritu has really hit his stride here. Babel was a bit of a slog for many viewers - constant wallowing in life's misery get boring quickly - but it is so refreshing to see this immensely talented helmer hit his funny bone. His cinematic mastery helps what could have been a stagey, flat production soar from all corners of the screen - with Emmanuel Lubezki's camera whirling around on stage and backstage, seemingly in one single take (a master stroke for anyone looking to adapt any stageplay for the future!). A perfect visual blending of the mundane and the surreal keep the audience on tenterhooks, never in complete assurance that what is playing out is for real or just in Riggan's head. And Iñárritu & his co-writers inject some genuine pathos amongst all the on-stage erections and late-night streetwalks in your underwear - every character and conversation is wonderfully nuanced and pained by life's troubles. Yes, yes we get it, actors are struggling to find their place on this Earth - nothing that hasn't been said before. And for sure, it is easy to see the parallels between Riggan and Keaton in real life - the shadow of the Dark Knight was long and black over Keaton's subsequent career. But there is no getting away from it, as Lindsay Duncan's bitter theatre critic points out - the unexpected virtue of ignorance is something to behold indeed.
Funny, moving, audacious, original - all this and more from director Iñárritu and his magnificent ensemble. And Michael Keaton is about to soar again... Sixty really could be the New Thirty.