Blackbird: Michael Flatley’s ‘mind-bendingly terrible’ film already a cult success in London

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Eric Roberts and Michael Flatley behind the scenes filming Blackbird  (PA)
Eric Roberts and Michael Flatley behind the scenes filming Blackbird (PA)

Michael Flatley’s new film Blackbird may have been described as ‘a session on the golden toilet of cinema’ - but that hasn’t stopped filmgoers flocking to see it.

Film critic Mark Kermode gave the spy drama an eviscerating review but it seems to only have encouraged more fans to track Blackbird down and see it on the big screen for themselves.

Written, directed, produced and starring Michael ‘Lord of the Dance’ Flatley, Blackbird has sold out every evening screening thus far at The Prince Charles Cinema off Leicester Square - with more shows planned.

Blackbird, which has been dubbed a vanity project, was filmed back in 2018 and in fact aired at the May Fair Hotel in London as part of the Raindance Film Festival on 28 September 2018.

It’s only now, four years and a Covid pandemic later, getting a theatrical release and film fans are lapping it up - but not due to its quality.

Reviewing the film on podcast Kermode and Mayo’s Take, Kermode said: “It’s not just bad – it’s eye-wateringly awful.

“There are scenes in this that Tommy Wiseau, who made The Room, would have said, ‘I’m sorry, that’s actually not up to snuff – we’re going to have to take that out.”

The Room is widely considered to be one of the worst films of all time.

Kermode continued: “This is not cinema; this is something so staggeringly self-regarding. I’ve seen a lot of very bad performances, but this is in a stratosphere of his own.”

Kermode then told Mayo the film is not even “worth seeing for a laugh”.

Viewers disagree.

Paul Vickery, head of programming at The Prince Charles Cinema, told The Standard: “When a film is written, directed, produced and starring the same person, and that person happens to be an incredibly famous dancer, it sets alarm bells off as a film we simply have to screen.

“We knew part of our audience would embrace it - whatever kind of film would end up on screen - and it seems that has happened.

“We’ve sold out every evening show we’ve run thus far, we sold 50 tickets in 24 hours for an encore show next Friday, and it feels like the kind of film which will grow and grow and end up with a very very dedicated audience, similar to The Room.

“The interest from the get-go is incredibly promising but it’s too soon to know if it’ll reach those heights, but once it hits a streaming platform I’m sure people will start to talk about it, more memes will surface, a deeper love and a desire to celebrate the film with an audience will grow.”