How Cassavetes subverts our formal expectations - how the surreal elements come to life precisely because of the "realist" aesthetics that encapsulate them - is unrivalled. To say that this is a character study is to seriously undervalue the genius and scope of this wonder. Gena Rowlands is brilliant as usual, and the makers of Birdman should be embarrassed.
Some say this is Cassavetes's best work with his wifey Rowlands, but my preference is still A Woman Under the Influence or Faces, they're all tied I guess... I love the pseudo-noir opening with her narrating. This would be a great film to double feature with All About my Mother (which borrows a scene from this) or maybe Sunset Boulevard (which I haven't seen yet) or All About Eve (which I have).
There's a belter of an 80min horror film trapped inside this flabby edit that entertains, bores & turns the screw in equal measure. Rowlands is superb as the actor on the edge, trapped in a role she can't confront, in a terrible play we have to endure with her. The camerawork is great & there are scenes of brilliance but the plot drags, the dialogue rambles, the aesthetics are ugly & the point of it all evaporates.