Written by / 8/09/2015 / No comments / , , , , ,

WOODY ALLEN DIRECTS JOAQUIN PHOENIX IN IRRATIONAL MAN

2015 rating: **
Taking THE out of IRRATIONAL MAN is perhaps Woody Allen's way of saying all men are this way. If so, he's created plenty of them. From the thoroughly classic CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS to the popular MATCH POINT to the obscure CASSANDRA'S DREAM, the "Perfect Murder" sub-genre has been used, again and again and again...

But this MAN begins as a character-study on Joaquin Phoenix's troubled college professor, Abe. His trade is existential philosophy and, with a weight jarring his already tortured soul, one might feel like having walked into a movie halfway through. Despite the dream of an Allen/Phoenix collaborative, the offbeat actor is so beyond subdued, even the pontificating advances from pretty young student Emma Stone, as Jill, means very little. So during their perpetual near-romance, the story trudges along without purpose until our flawed hero finds an agenda in... that dark subject Woody Allen adores. And in just about every venture of the past decade, it feels like he's been adapting clever-twisty short stories into films rather than letting his tales pan out naturally...

In this particular case, more shapes are carved into the dull bookends than the one (and only) thing that matters. But by the conclusion, like Allen's own core philosophy, everything turns out pretty much meaningless... and unlike his older stuff, not very satisfying.
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