Throughout his long career, director Woody Allen has built up an impressive repertoire: producing a film a year, like clockwork, now at age 79 he's one of the most prolific film directors in the industry.
Latest Woody Allen film 2015: Irrational Man
In his latest film, Irrational Man, the director returns to the world of academia – a subject previously touched upon in Woody Allen films Deconstructing Harry and Husbands and Wives – to recount the story of disenchanted philosophy professor Abe (Joaquin Phoenix) who's going through, in typical Allen style, a period of deep uncertainty and neuroses. It’s not until Abe meets fresh-faced student (Emma Stone) that he finds a new lease on life that propels him out of his existential crisis.
New Irrational Man movie – a return to form?
Whilst recent films directed by Woody Allen have been frustratingly hit-and-miss, for his new Irrational Man film – with Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone amongst the impressive talents on board – we were hoping for a return to form for the ageing director. And, in some ways, it's succeeded – the superficial, self-aggrandizing pretention of Midnight in Paris is less irritatingly present, whilst the existential narratives are frequent and rather simplistically drawn.
Yet what's interesting about these existential discourses is that in some ways they appear to be an attempt by Allen at parodying himself – is he the 'irrational man' that Phoenix plays with such indulgence? His characters muse constantly, with an ironic lack of self-awareness even as they self-analyse and indulge.
Reminiscent of 2005's Match Point, it's a tense, dark exploration of a novice's approach to 'the perfect crime'. Yet this film is more rife with witticisms, teetering on the line between dark thriller and comedy, and while this is an entertaining way to spend a couple of hours, there's an uncertainty as to where we're supposed to be looking at Allen satirising himself and where he's merely being lazy; superficial.
Both Emma Stone and Parker Posey's characters show needy dependence on men, which is clearly meant to be ironical – yet when paired with the similar insecurity of Blue Jasmine's Kate Blanchett, these feeble female roles become slightly disconcerting – none of Allen's women ever seem to be particularly confident without a man in tow. Irrational Man certainly wouldn't pass the Bechdel test.
As in any black comedy – the humour is uncomfortable and double edged – but that's not why Allen's film has been so criticised. It's the fact that it's Woody Allen – again – doing Woody Allen – again – with an arrogance that frustrates those who love his early films for their subtlety and attention to detail.
That being said, as a stand-alone work it would probably be considered a work of satirical brilliance. As a work of Woody Allen it just feels we've seen it all before: entertaining, but forgettable.
Irrational Man movie trailer 2015
Click here to view the Irrational Man movie trailer 2015.
|What||New Woody Allen Movie 2015: Irrational Man|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
11 Sep 15 – 11 Oct 15, 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
|Price||£ determined by venue|
|Website||Click here to go to the An Irrational Man IMDB page|