Okay, first of all, I have to say to acting on this movie is phenomenal. You can tell the difference when the characters are on stage "acting" and when they really mean what they are saying (it's hard to remember that they're still acting). Michael Keaton and Ed Norton are especially spectacular, but everyone in the movie is fantastic.
The story is likewise very compelling, with a lead character with a complex agenda in a particular quirk that makes dull moments very interesting. There are a few minor stories going on that are also enough to make you think that this is a real-
The dialogue is great, these seem like real people with real problems and some personality disorders. Some wonderful lines throughout the movie. The dialogue (and story) don't try excessively hard to beat you over the head with what the movie is trying to say, except I suppose in one scene with the daughter, but it was so well acted I didn't mind.
So, you have a great set of actors, wonderful story, and good dialogue. What's not to love? Well, the music is… Annoying. There's this drumbeat staying going on that I am sure supposed to represent something, but instead gets really old, really fast. Is there any way we can have special edition without all the drums? Geez we get it already.
The real kicker though, and it seems to be in vogue with Hollywood right now, is the unexpected and weird ending. I don't mind a surprise ending, but this movie throws you for a loop during the last 60 seconds, And it's one of those endings where you have to "decide what it meant to you". I think that this may be appropriate for many movies, but about 99.9% of the time you just want to see the end of the story.
That being said, I still loved this movie. I couldn't stop watching. I'm not sure that I will own this movie, but it was well worth the watch, and I could definitely see why it won awards. I think Michael Keaton may have been ripped off for best actor.
Although I'm going to subtract a point for the unnecessarily strange ending, this movie gets a 9 out of 10.