Review of Woody Allen’s latest movie IRRATIONAL MAN Part 6

 Review of Woody Allen’s latest movie IRRATIONAL MAN Part 6

Irrational Man Official Trailer #1 (2015) – Emma Stone, Joaquin Phoenix Movie HD

Woody Allen, Emma Stone and the cast of Irrational Man in Cannes

Cannes Update: The Lobster, Irrational Man

Cannes review: Woody Allen’s ‘Irrational Man’ taps into a main vein

CANNES, France — Only Woody Allen can open a film with a quote from Immanuel Kant set to a peppy classic jazz tune and get away with it.

And “getting away with it” is what Irrational Man is all about. While he’s re-teamed with Emma Stone, this is not another wafer-thin rom-com like last year’s Magic in the Moonlight. Set at a college campus, where it’s socially acceptable to go around quoting Kant, Irrational Man is a mostly serious, but highly energetic morality play.

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The dinner table-like discussion boils down to this: We all think we know right from wrong, but don’t circumstances change things?

Abe (Joaquin Phoenix) is a brilliant philosophy professor in the process of burning out. He’s drunk, he’s impotent and now he’s at a new, none-too-prestigious school. He does make a new friend, a sharp gal in his summer session named Jill (Stone) with whom he takes long walks and talks about ethics. She falls in love with him, naturally, and not just because Woody Allen is a lech but because Jill is the romantic type who seems designed to have an important affair with her brilliant mentor. She’s in control here.

To Abe’s credit, he demurs, even with Stone, her eyes as wide as flying saucers, looking marvelous at sunset in all those summer dresses. One day at a diner they overhear a woman’s tale of woe. A corrupt judge is going to take custody of her children away, to do a friend a favor. Abe, sinking lower into depression, decides that society could only be a better place if this man with no family were to just disappear.

He plans a perfect murder while making notes in his copy of Crime and Punishment. He’s actually got quite the knack. And it looks like he’s going to get away with it, too, thanks to dumb luck. (This movie’s got one doozy of a scene at an outdoor summer carnival.)

But devising and committing this crime doesn’t just help someone in need, it brings the joy back into Abe’s life. He can laugh, he can love, he can teach. Slowly, however, that luck begins to turn. Or maybe it isn’t luck, it’s just the randomness of the universe. Irrational Man concludes with one of the finest spins on Chekov’s Gun I’ve ever seen.

Phoenix is terrific as ever, mopey and tortured at first, then emerging out into the sun. He leads from his gut, and that isn’t some acting term — I mean his surprisingly big beer belly is all over the frame. Stone is super right alongside him. She isn’t just a pretty girlfriend, she’s a strong-willed young woman trying to determine the ethical code by which she’ll live her life.

Some critics may say “nobody talks like that,” and, yes, that’s true. (No college student says “have you read the papers?”) As Woody Allen gets older and more insulated, we’re seeing him tap directly into the main vein. This movie is a thoughtful conversation about basic human themes. There’s a reason it’s set at a college campus.

That ivory tower sense — and all the Ramsey Lewis Trio on the soundtrack — adds just enough frivolity to turn this from an essay to an engaging movie.

The pieces all fit together rather rationally.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

‘Irrational Man’ Review

Irrational Man: Is It Any Good? (Cannes 2015)

Cannes 2015 – IRRATIONAL MAN by Woody ALLEN (Press conference)

Cannes presents: Woody Allen’s ‘Irrational Man’ (Red Carpet)

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