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The calmest moment of the whole damn thing.

Michael Keaton is an anxiety-riddled, washed-up comic-book actor, desperate for a second chance to reinvent his career.

Or at least that’s what he plays in Birdman.

But the irony in casting (Keaton is a notably happy recluse) is actually the least of the reasons to see the dark indie comedy about a group of actors, friends and family who are all struggling with different demons (like aging, relevance and fame).

You should see it because it’s absolutely gorgeous.

The director (responsible for Babel with Brad Pitt and Biutiful with Javier Bardem) uses an erratic jazz-drum score and long, unedited walking shots to make it feel like you’re watching live theater. This is particularly appropriate since almost the entire movie was filmed in the St. James Theatre on 44th Street. On the stage, in the dressing rooms, down the hallways, atop the roof--you get full access to a Broadway landmark.

And watching a former Batman and Incredible Hulk (Edward Norton) hilariously slap-fight in a costume room is worth the price of admission alone.

Opens today at the Angelika Film Center, 18 W. Houston St. (at Mercer St.); 212-995-2570 or

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