Irrational Man Is A Dark, Depressing Movie
Woody Allen’s latest film’s theme might just remind you of other Woody Allen films, including it’s dark, philosophical, and downright depressing at times tone. It plays out like a tragic murder mystery, although you already know who committed the murder and why, you just find yourself waiting to see how the main character gets caught.
Joaquin Phoenix plays Abe, a philosophy professor that people tend to like, even though he’s a bit of an alcoholic and tormented with his existence. He has difficulty finding a reason to carry on living, even though there is no shortage of wannabe lovers in his life. He’s got Rita (Parker Posey) who wants him to take her away from her dull marriage and run away with her to Spain, and Jill (Emma Stone), a student who her finds herself growing more and more obsessed with him due to her fascination with him. Neither women can reach him though, and it’s not until Abe and Jill overhear a conversation in a diner about a crooked judge that Abe finds a way to give his life meaning. He decides to take it upon himself to kill the judge, and thus free the woman from her tormentor. It’s a plan that works, and gives him a new found happiness. That is until people start wondering if perhaps he was the one who did the crime.
One of the first thoughts that comes to mind is that the story is similar to the classic novel of Crime and Punishment, although in this case Abe celebrates his crime and is never tormented by it. That in itself is one of the problems with the movie. Abe is the main character and you are supposed to like him, but unfortunately he is too dreary to like at first, and by the end you can’t relate to his emotional distance from the crime he has committed. You also know where the movie is headed before it even takes the turn around the corner and starts heading there, which makes it unexciting to watch. Joaquin Phoenix has made a career out of playing deep, philosophical and even dark characters, but unfortunately this one really has no redeeming qualities to like. Even Emma Stone’s character is unlikable, although you can at least understand her feelings and why she does what she does. You just wish she would do something instead of doing nothing.
Irrational Man on the whole offers nothing new, and even though the acting is good, the story and characters prevent them from achieving anything that will be remembered even a few months down the road.
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