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Is Michael Flatley’s ‘Blackbird’ the Worst Movie of 2022?

Rated 1-star on Rotten Tomatoes.

Michael Flatley Blackbird
Image: Dance Lord Productions/West One Entertainment

A new action-thriller made by, and starring Irish dance icon Michael Flatley, is the latest movie to baffle critics. Since its release, the film has been rated one star on Rotten Tomatoes, The Guardian, Empire, and several other publications. Could it be the worst movie of 2022?

If you’ve heard the name Michael Flatley before, you’ll likely know him as the multi-millionaire Irish dancer, who caused a sensation in 1994 after his iconic Riverdance performance on Eurovision. Since then, the 64-year-old ‘Lord of the Dance,’ has made over $1 billion through his multiple dancing shows across the globe.

Credit: Max Lin / Wikipedia Commons

From Lord of The Dance to Lord of The Big Screen

A well-known and prolific dance star announcing his plans to make an action movie could be one of the most bizarre and unprecedented career moves ever made. And as Flatley himself has stated, many criticized him for his film ambitions, even before ‘Dancelord Pictures’ was established:

‘[…] the big motivation for me making Blackbird is all the people that said “Impossible. You can’t do it. You can’t be an actor – you’re a dancer.” I mean, I’ve heard it till I’m blue in the face and you just have to go for it.’

Michael Flatley

Although this September marked the official release of ‘Blackbird,’ the film was initially privately screened in 2018, causing critics to speculate about the movie’s quality. To their surprise, however, Flatley’s film was a great success at the 2021 Monaco Streaming Film Festival, where the dancer was awarded ‘Best Actor.’

Credit: Michael Flatley’s ‘Blackbird’ / Dancelord Pictures

What is ‘Blackbird’ about?

In the film, Michael Flatley plays a character named ‘Victor Blackley’ (sound familiar?), a retired secret agent who is forced back into action when an ex-lover and a new enemy enter his life.

Critics have drawn comparisons between the plot of ‘Blackbird’ and movies like Casablanca and Casino Royale. In terms of quality, however, some have compared it to Tommy Wiseau’s infamously bad film ‘The Room.’ Mark Kermode even went as far as to suggest that ‘Blackbird’ was worse than Wiseau’s movie, stating:

‘I’ve seen a lot of very bad performances, but this is in a stratosphere of its own […] This is not cinema, this is something so staggeringly self-regarding […] It is genuinely one of the worst films I have ever seen.’

Mark Kermode
Credit: Youtube / ‘Blackbird’ Official Trailer

Passion Project or Vanity Project?

Having been written, directed, and produced by Flatley, ‘Blackbird’ could easily come across as a shameless self-insert in which its star can live out his fantasy of being an invincible Bond-esque hero. The fact that Flatley has little to no experience in the movie industry and has even reportedly admitted that he hasn’t watched a ‘whole lot of films,’ also doesn’t present him in the best light.

However, despite the many negative reviews he’s received, Flatley is said to be planning ‘Blackbird 2’ and continues to appear generally unfazed by the criticism. The dancer has a lot of money after all, so where’s the harm in him using it to make a mediocre action film? He could have done much worse…right?

‘There’s no shame in failure, the shame is not getting up and trying. That’s the way I look at life..’

Michael Flatley

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