Saturday, August 15, 2015

Irrational Man

** out of ****

Woody Allen’s Irrational Man is a typical weak entry in his movie-a-year body of work, where he's obviously falling back on old ideas, but with nothing fresh to apply. It has a good plot that probably required a little more thought and time than this busy, aging auteur was willing to put in. 

His Rhode Island-set drama about a depressed college professor – played by Joaquin Phoenix - who feels uplifted through the planning of a perfect murder, seemed to dance around some heavy moral and philosophical concepts but none of these elements seemed to gel.

Still, the dialogue and narration between Phoenix and Emma Stone - as his student - contains a lot of analytical banter that may be exactly what turns people off from Allen’s work, but I’ve always found refreshing when compared to the unending list of movies with characters who don’t seem to think at all.

I guess I don't need to spell out that this is not funny Woody Allen, it's the bitter dark drama territory he brought us with Crimes and Misdemeanors and Match Point. Although, this time he scores it with upbeat jazz piano. I'm not sure what he was thinking, but it's a collision of tone and meaning. 

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