Rated 5.0

An actor (Michael Keaton) is both directing and starring in his stage adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story. The first mysterious details—a levitation, the deus ex machina of a falling stage light, hints of telekinetic powers in Keaton’s character—pass without comment or explanation. But mixtures of realistic grit and occasional tremors of the supernatural are integral to the whole of Birdman, which soon takes spectacular flight in several forms—a bizarre and somewhat convulsive backstage comedy, a high-spirited psychodrama couched in terms of comic-book imagery, a fantasy within a fantasy that is both deadly serious and exuberantly playful. The voice of “Birdman” (a movie superhero he once played) is in Keaton’s head early on and we can hear it too. Eventually, he’s also present as a kind of ogre in a superhero costume. By then it seems fairly evident that he’s maybe the most tenacious and troubling of the several alter egos swirling around the protagonist. All of these elements are seemingly in play as the film reaches its mysterious and multifaceted climax. We’re left to make what sense of it we can, or will. But before you get to that, Birdman is an immensely entertaining film. Cinemark 14. Rated R