Be a Good God: There’s so much interesting stuff going on in this movie that it’s hard for any one reviewer to cover it all, so I’d like to focus in on one element that I haven’t seen many people discuss: The hero’s delusional belief that he has raging telekinesis that disappears when anyone else is looking.
On many layers, this is a movie about power-fantasies: An actor agrees to play out the public’s superhero power fantasy, but then he feels powerless to stop, so he rebels and creates his own power-trip in the form of a Broadway vanity project, only to find himself humbled and overpowered at every turn, but in a way that he finds ironically liberating.
Co-writer/director Alejandro González Iñárritu implies that our current infatuation with superhero movies isn’t a wish for power we don’t have, it’s a confirmation of the power-fantasies we’re already living every day, certain that our faces are masks, hiding the secretly-omnipotent beings within, just waiting to be revealed to the world. Only by acting on our delusions and tearing down the screen that separates us from real life (as Keaton does by subjecting himself to a live audience) do we discover that no, we’re neither super nor heroes...and that’s probably for the best, because it’s hard enough to just be human.
When art is made, who has the power? The writer? The director? The producers? The star? The audience? The critics? Are each of these parties trying to prove the others wrong, or to reach out across a divide and make a connection? For each, it’s always a little of both. This movie is a intense, funny, sad, and profoundly weird examination of that tension, and it’s pretty great.
Next: A similar score…