This past weekend, Mark Latham used his fortnightly column in the Australian Financial Review to critique the movie Birdman. As a connoisseur of the contemporary lens, the former politician falls just a little short and would perhaps be better simply smashing cameras than waiting around for them to disappoint him. It is difficult to agree with his brutal assessment of a work that has been hailed as a career-defining Hamlet for its director and trickier still to allow his view that this is a movie about “mental illness” as it is presently understood. It is not so much a contemporary and realist “mental illness” that we see unfolding in Michael Keaton’s Birdman but an old-fashioned and metaphoric madness. This is not a movie that explicitly urges understanding of the mentally ill but one that implicitly urges impatience with those delusions produced by fame and power.
Razer: Latham’s right, mental illness does discriminate
Mark Latham has declared mental illness to be a largely imagined problem of the bored middle class. He is right that some socioeconomic groups are more likely to be affected, but the finer details escape him.