Monday, August 10, 2015

Irrational Man

A college student (Emma Stone) is drawn towards the latest faculty newcomer at her idyllic Newport college: a brilliant, burned out, suicidal philosophy professor (Joaquin Phoenix) who stumbles across a perfect philanthropic murder plot which he sees as lifting him out of his existential funk. Woody Allen has explored similar themes before to more compelling ends (Crimes and Misdemeanors, Match Point) here borrowing Hitchockian motifs (Strangers on a Train and even Shadow of a Doubt to a greater degree) and again explicitly citing Dostoevsky. Although not all of the ideas come together in the film, Stone strains to hit dramatic notes later on, and Phoenix surprisingly is off key when attempting to play the Allen type, and I find myself saying this whenever one of Woody's movies is panned (here likely the result of a recent tabloid resurgence), his films are still more engrossing than most of the other shit to come down the Hollywood pike.
*** out of ****