Friday, 18 September 2015

REVIEW - IRRATIONAL MAN (WOODY ALLEN)


Woody Allen's redundant rumination on reheated Dostoyevsky-esque themes, blatant to the point that he insists on namechecking the novelist for extra emphasis, is not merely underwhelming in its philosophical heft, it's unoriginal within Allen's own canon. Irrational Man is an excuse for a film, passable only to those unfamiliar with either Allen or Dostoyevsky, and unintelligent enough to subscribe to its characters' pseudo-profundity. Knowledge and notoriety are more tags than traits for these people, more of Allen's excuses: he uses them to sound off half-baked theories about morality and ethicality that are surely just soundbites, not the musings of a great artist - his temptation to interject the occasional comic quip serves Allen poorly here. Yet that's how Allen duly earned such a reputation as a great artist, one which he fittingly seems to employ as another excuse in Irrational Man to act as he pleases; no doubt that the artistry he was once able to indulge in with at least a small degree of relative innocence is wholly undermined by his repulsive attitude today toward young female characters. Two consecutive titles now Emma Stone has debased herself by submitting to this man's repellant gaze, his camera ogling her long, slim, college-age legs, realised through the perverted purview of Joaquin Phoenix's waste-of-space philosophy professor as the shot lingers on interminably. A scene set over a romantic dinner appears to frame Stone as classic films did their female leads, but the result is hollow in the icky context of Irrational Man.