Birdman flies Keaton to new career height

Birdman starring Edward Norton and Michael Keaton. Photo: PA Photo/Fox UK

Birdman starring Edward Norton and Michael Keaton. Photo: PA Photo/Fox UK

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According to Konstantin Stanislavski and Lee Strasberg, two founding fathers of method acting, the best performers possess the rare ability to channel deeply personal recollections and emotions.

These actors don’t just play a role as written, they share every breath and straining sinew with their alter ego.

In Birdman, Michael Keaton inhabits the role of a middle-aged Hollywood star, whose glory days as a big screen superhero are long behind him.

It’s the role of a lifetime for Keaton. Art and real life playfully blur in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s technically dazzling comedy, which was shot on location in New York.

In one of the film’s bravura handheld sequences, Keaton strides purposefully through crowded, neon-lit Times Square in just his underpants as tourists clamour with their mobile devices.

Literally and figuratively, he bares his soul. Peppered with affectionate verbal barbs aimed at Hollywood’s current glitterati, Inarritu’s picture is crammed to bursting with self-referential treats that demand a second and third viewing.

Birdman is the post-Christmas gift that keep on giving.