Irrational Man

***

Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

On a small town college campus, a philosophy professor in existential crisis gives his life new purpose when he enters into a relationship with his student in Irrational Man. Starrig Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone. Screening Out of Competition at Cannes.
"The story is not as well-developed as it should have been but it’s an enjoyable enough treat for Allen fans for whom he can do no wrong."

With Woody Allen familiarity seems to breed contempt among some of the critical brethren but Irrational Man - which had its premiere Out of Competition in Cannes - sees him on fine tongue-in-cheek form with a dash of suspense thrown in for good measure.

He admits that the tone has been inspired by not only Dostoyevsky, a favourite reference point of his, but also Patricia Highsmith.

The central character is played with aplomb by Joaquin Phoenix, as a professor of philosophy whose good looks and charisma seem to make him a magnet for both students and staff.

Parker Posey with her kookie appeal, used to good effect, appears on the scene as a science lecturer with whom he begins an affair while at the same time starting to flirt with an intellectually capable student (Emma Stone), whose other talents include playing the piano, brilliantly well.

When he happens to overhear a woman complaining that a judge is about to ruin her life in a custody case he decides to ride to the rescue: the only way out is to set up the murder of the judge which he feels would earn him more kudos than anything he does in academic circles. No one in the small town could possibly suspect him, he reasons.

Allen has been on this territory before in such films as Match Point (set in London) as well as Crimes And Misdemeanours. The story is not as well-developed as it should have been but it’s an enjoyable enough treat for Allen fans for whom he can do no wrong. It does not have the depth of Blue Jasmine, however, and the excitement remains somewhat subdued.

Reviewed on: 17 May 2015
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On a small town college campus, a philosophy professor in existential crisis gives his life new purpose when he enters into a relationship with his student.
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Director: Woody Allen

Writer: Woody Allen

Starring: Emma Stone, Joaquin Phoenix, Parker Posey, Jamie Blackley, Ethan Phillips, Meredith Hagner

Year: 2015

Runtime: 96 minutes

Country: US

Festivals:

Cannes 2015
SSFF 2015

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