Woody Allen’s Darkly Comical Irrational Man Is Ultimately Problematic
Woody Allen’s latest movie, which he makes pretty much annually, “Irrational Man” is entertaining and had me thinking during its brisk running time, yet is ultimately problematic in the long run. In the spectrum of his latest movies this isn’t nearly as great as “Midnight in Paris” and “Blue Jasmine” but not as dismal as “To Rome with Love” or “Magic in the Moonlight.” Fans of Woody Allen will appreciate a few things about this movie, but he won’t win over the hard-to-please.
Cinematics (Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.) – 3
Emma Stone was the highlight of the film for me. She gave the best performance in “Irrational Man” and proved to be the voice of reason among all the characters. She is maturing into a great actress. “Birdman” will be the moment that changed her career and she continues the trend with another accomplished performance. I really wanted to like Joaquin Phoenix in this and he had his moments, but I was let down by his work. This is nowhere at the level of his greatness and I expected a talented director like Woody Allen to really bring out the wild side of Mr. Phoenix. After thinking it through, I found part of the plot to be over-the-top and unbelievable. I won’t reveal what because it ruins a few third act revelations.
Entertainment Value – 4
I was very entertained following the plot while in the moments and listening to the zippy dialogue. Without revealing intricate plot details, I was enthralled at times wanting to know what would happen next and where “Irrational Man” would take the audience. I like Woody Allen when he is on his game and there are some moments when he is. It comes from observant one-liners and the reaction from his characters. When Emma Stone says “He is very conservative in a liberal way,” it embodies to me the identity crisis and confusion among Millennial political conviction. Woody Allen is good at critiquing American culture and continues with that line among other situations involving college, shopping, and horseback riding.
Rewatchability – 2
“Irrational Man” suffers the most in this category. Once you know the third act twists, I think the movie will be challenging to re-watch. Details within the plot will probably unravel. I was fully engaged during “Irrational Man” wondering what would happen next, but I could easily see this losing its power with multiple viewings. It isn’t going to be a memorable Woody Allen movie in the long run. I think the “rewatchabilty” will come from observing Emma Stone’s performance and some of the dialogue, but not the plot. Though the conversations about existentialism could be worth repeat viewings.
Though somewhat witty and darkly comical with a very good performance from Emma Stone, Woody Allen's "Irrational Man" lives up to its name by not logically coming together when you start thinking about it.