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Home > Everywhere > Film Reviews | New Age | Psychology
by Helen Belli (subscribe)
I am now living in Kariong on the Central Coast
Published January 14th 2015
You are a celebrity, not an actor
Actors want to be adored not just be known as celebrities. Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) is trying to be just that, while staging a play he has written and financed and is starring in and directing in a downtown 800 seat run down theatre, at the same time trying to make peace with his family. He had super star status as Birdman 1, 2 &3 twenty years ago. Thomson needs money and to prove he still matters.

'How did I end up in a place like this?'

The film opens with Thomson, listening to the chatter in his head, sitting in the lotus position in his underpants two feet off the ground. This 'head' chatter lets him escape into the world that is no longer his, the world of fantasy and celebrity.

Much of the film is set backstage, warts and all, and for a change no flash backs. Along comes Mike (Edward Norton), a last minute replacement for an injured player. He is a dedicated method actor and a power struggle begins between the two men.

Thomson's 'mortal' life is as chaotic, frightening, desperate and noisy as New York. Nervous actors have tantrums, hissy fits and fisticuffs, break furniture and hurl abuse at each other. Noisy drums beat constantly, intersected with a section of 2nd movement of Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony (I mention this to remind the viewers in Australia who might remember the Winfield cigarette ads featuring Paul Hogan, aired in 1976) during the few moments of tranquility. Listen for the clock that ticks in the background sporadically.

A comedy it is not, but enough humour occasionally brakes the tension. All the actors are splendid and believable and this film will bag lots of awards. But questions are still unanswered. Will making it in New York be worth all the heart ache? Did you go far enough to get the attention of the all-powerful critics? What will they say of your performance, are you an actor or just a celebrity? But this is certain, the critics make or break you.

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Why? A look into fantasy and celebrity
Phone: 31376000
Where: Hamilton
Cost: $18
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