ON SCREEN · FILM
The Great Buster
This soulful tribute brings deadpan genius Buster Keaton back to life.
“The Great Buster brings a deadpan genius back to life.” —New York Times
Wildly ambitious, visionary, fearless and more physically gifted than any comedian before or since, Buster Keaton is revered and beloved, an enduring icon. And yet we barely know him. Peter Bogdanovich’s soulful tribute pulls us close, from Keaton’s too-strange-to-imagine childhood—he was treated as a projectile as an infant, and as a toddler was a veritable vaudeville star—to Buster’s unstoppable rise to fame. Then we see the cruel late decades of obsolescence and commodification.
In a brilliant twist, Bogdanovich uses a third-act backtrack to Keaton’s 1920 highlight reel: an unimaginably fertile nine-year creative burst rivaling that of any artist, in any medium, in any era. Bogdanovich weaves a magnificent tableau pulling equally from heartache and pleasure; each crystalline moment connects us to the purest, most enduring of performers.
D: Peter Bogdanovich, US, 2018, 1h42m