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I have always been fond of Michael Keaton. Growing up in the 80s I had a good taste of his incredible range. From Mr. Mom, to Beetlejuice, to Clean and Sober, the man could always switch from handsome and downright sexy, to funny, disturbing and insane. Jumping from leading man to character actor and everything in-between has been his talent. He has the skill to project an everyman quality that makes you want to grab a drink with him, but he has that gleam in his eye that retains a debonair spark, which at his command can switch to psychotic as in Pacific Heights.
I just saw Birdman.
All of the Oscar buzz you hear for Keaton is well earned. Not only does he still have his everyman chops, but his face now shows the wear and tear of every loss, and every win in his life. It’s a beautifully expressive, and often ugly face that fascinates and pulls you into his dark heart. The rest of the ensemble is stellar (save Edward Norton doing his usual Edward Norton thing, yawn) but it is Keaton’s film in every way, despite the clips you’ve seen featuring Norton. Keaton in Birdman reminds us why we believed him as Batman, not because of the cape, but because of his heart. It bleeds for us, and just as we’ve had enough, he makes us laugh.
Go see Birdman.