Movie Review: Irrational Man

Writer-director Woody Allen has done it again, gracing us with a film that proves that you don’t need the glam and glitz of CGI to make an entertaining film.

Abe Lucas (Joaquin Phoenix) entertains us as a washed-up philosophy professor tormented by his own existential crisis and finds a renewed purpose in life in the most unlikely of circumstances.

Fellow protagonist Emma Stone makes up for her disappointing showing in Aloha, and produces one on-par with her Academy-nominated performance in Birdman. Here, she portrays a college student named Jill, enticed by an inspiring professor who makes her feel “on the edge”.

Woody  revisits his storytelling structures in Irrational Man, moving away from the likes of Midnight in Paris and returning to classics such as Annie Hall and Vicky Cristina Barcelona (VCB).

Similar to how both Annie Hall and VCB expose characters’ flaws and explore them as tragicomedies, Irrational Man assumes comedy from a range of varying subjects such as faculty gossip to Immanuel Kant, a historic Western philosopher.

Understandably, the film can be considered a formulaic Allen film and has in fact garnered several poor reviews from critics for revisiting a structure. This spontaneous episodic structure rejects the notion of goal-driven films and engages the audience through intriguing characters, not paying much attention to a seemingly unmotivated plot.

The plot rarely meanders, but hey, at least it has no gargantuan plot holes. The characters manage to entertain throughout and almost never become repetitive. Both Abe and Jill’s eavesdropping on a convicted woman’s depressing conversation is one moment that truly encompasses this.

Overall, Irrational Man feels like a surprise comeback for Allen, and you have to witness it.

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Release date: 23 July 2015

Runtime: 96 minutes

Language: English

Rating: NC16

Genre: Drama, Comedy

Director: Woody Allen

Main Actors: Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, Parker Posey

Photos Courtesy of: Shaw Theatres


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Written by: Nishok