Reviews

The Merry Gentlemen

2

Michael Keaton's directing career has a shaky start...

Is Michael Keaton’s directorial debut a vanity project?

Certainly, Tim Burton’s Batman could use a meaty role nowadays. He casts himself as Frank Logan in this low-key drama, a strong, silent, suicidal hitman cum tailor.

One pre-Christmas night, Logan’s spotted poised to plunge off a roof by Scots gal Kate (Kelly Macdonald), who’s trying to re-start her life after an abusive marriage. Frank lives and strikes up an inexplicable friendship with Kate, while her bonkers ex and a homicide dick bother them both.

Part tastefully muted, part plain morose, Keaton’s direction styles this as a character study of hearts in winter. But it doesn’t wash: Ron Lazzeretti’s vague script muffles the mysteries of human connections in unpersuasive plotting, while Keaton’s over-cooked performance creaks with strain. The strain of dredging depths from Logan, or of staging a credible career comeback?

Either way, he needed reining in – and he clearly wasn’t the director to do that.

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