An Irrational Man
By Rob Henderson
Allen returns with Irrational Man, a film fuelled by philosophy, stylish camerawork and strong performances; but again raises the ageing question around Allen’s adaptability and the diversity of his ‘Woodyville’ narratives.
The last decade has been rewarding for Woody Allen, with the writer and director producing, arguably, some of his strongest films with the likes of Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine achieving high levels of popular and critical acclaim.
Irrational Man is an engaging watch, as Joaquin Phoenix adds grit and weight (quite literally, check out that beer belly) to the normally nervously infused Woody protagonist, to riveting effect. Allen sticks to his well-worn formula of young-attractive female (Emma Stone) falls for brilliant older man, a cliché that becomes more uncomfortable with each Allen film. You could never question Allen’s ambition, his character construction has always been compelling as he strives to move away from stock characterization and branch into the complexities of human behavior, this is never more apparent than during Irrational Man.
However, it’s impossible to ignore that Woody’s wit is fading, his flat remarks and worn profoundness leaving viewers uncomfortable. Allen’s eye for camerawork will never falter, as he seamlessly pans from scene to scene in his fictional Rhode Island world.
Irrational Man is a charming but empty film and despite Allen’s best efforts on characterisation its impossible to avoid the fact that the old New-Yorkers creativity may just be running dry.
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