Every Michael Keaton performance is a special one. The actor has seen a career resurgence in recent years thanks to Birdman, Spotlight and The Founder. Throughout his career Keaton has been able to walk the fine line between comedy and drama, showing a versatility that few stars can acquire.
Michael Keaton is probably best known for starring in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) but his career is littered with many great performances. Even if a movie isn’t that good – Keaton always delivers on an acting level.
To celebrate the UK release of The Founder, Movies In Focus has delved into his career and discovered the top five Michael Keaton performances.
Clean And Sober (1988)
Many saw Michael Keaton as a comedy actor when he took on the role of an addict in Glenn Caron Gordon’s Clean And Sober. It’s a riveting performance and one which first fully showed Keaton’s dramatic range. It wasn’t a huge hit – but it’s worth seeking out – if you can find it.
Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice was Keaton’s break-out role and it’s hard to believe his scene-stealing turn as ‘the ghost with the most’ has very little screen-time. It’s a showy role for sure, and one which shows the might of Keaton’s comic prowess. ‘Nice Fuckin’ Model!’
My Life (1993)
Michael Keaton is superb in this heartbreaking drama about a man dying from cancer, documenting his final days for his unborn son on video. Keaton’s work here is outstanding and he balances humour with pathos, crafting a turn that really should have seen more critical acclaim.
Harold Ramis’ high-concept Multiplicity might be a comedy, but Michael Keaton is superb as Doug Kinney, the family man who is so busy in life that gets cloned three times. Keaton brings nuance to each version of the character, playing up the subtle differences to deliver one of the greatest comedy performances of all time. Often overshadowed by Ramis’ own Groundhog Day, this needs to be seen.
Birdman is a career defining performance for Keaton. He exposes himself on an emotional and physical level, giving everything to the character. The unflinching camera work shows every wrinkle, crease and crevice on Keaton’s face. Emmanuel Lubezki’s camera captures the reality, not the glamour of being an actor. This is the culmination of Michael Keaton’s life and career on screen and it’s difficult to imagine who else could portray the fear, the anger, the sadness and insanity of the role.
The Founder will be released in UK cinemas on 17 February 2017