Birdman: A Very Short Review

by Brenda W. Clough

Birdman I can resist super-hero movies — even Batman and the X-Men often leave me cold, and let us not speak of the horror that was League of Extraordinary Gentlemen! But I can never resist a movie about super-heroes — Hero at Large, or Kick-Ass or Unbreakable. And so I had to see Birdman.

Michael Keaton does a bravura turn as a washed-up action hero actor who is trying to redeem himself artistically by staging a highbrow Broadway play. This is clearly crazy — you might as well set out to make your fortune by writing literary fiction. The movie is mainly the gritty and claustrophobic back-stage pressure-cooker filled with dysfunctional actors. Keaton himself is haunted by his old role, as depicted on a poster that looks exactly like Batman, when Keaton himself wore the Bat-suit.

But there’s another layer of stuff going on. Is he losing his marbles, or is he really a superhuman? Is he going to keep his head together until opening night, or will it all fall apart? Is there anything, anything at all, the artist will not do to get his work out into the light? (The answer is no.) The whole movie is filled with these meaty little nuggets, and the ending is delightfully ambiguous. Well worth seeing, on many levels.

The ebook version of my novel How Like a God is now available from Book View Cafe. And it is available now in an audio book edition which is read by Bronson Pinchot!

How Like a God, by Brenda W. CloughMy newest novel Speak to Our Desires is out from Book View Café.

I also have stories in Book View Café’s two steampunk anthologies, The Shadow Conspiracy and The Shadow Conspiracy II, as well as in BVC’s many other anthologies, including our latest, Beyond Grimm.

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About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.

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Birdman: A Very Short Review — 4 Comments

  1. It’s on my list to see. I have to say, the trailers I’ve seen put me in mind, for some reason, of Black Swan–the artist slipping into crazy, the unreliable mind, etc. I won’t know until I see Birdman whether this is some odd fancy of mine.

    • I have read no Carver at all. Does he account for all the dysfunctional sexual relationships that plague the characters?
      What was really funny was the voice of the superhero — that grating Batman tone!