Directed by Woody Allen
Written by Woody Allen
Starring: Emma Stone, Joaquin Phoenix, Parker Posey, and Jamie Buckley
Irrational Man is about a philosophy professor (Phoenix) who in the middle of an existential crisis finds a new zest for life between starting an affair with a student (Stone), and a desire to commit and irrational act. Irrational Man may not be Woody Allen’s best movie, but it is not his worst either. If Allen’s Films are something that is up your alley, then you will find enjoyment in Irrational Man.
The pros of Irrational Man are primarily the cast. Phoenix and Stone were great, their chemistry was solid, it was not great, it was not terrible, but I did buy them as being in a student-professor affair type relationship. Phoenix hits all the notes of his performance. You can tell where in the arc that Phoenix is just by watching how he is playing any particular moment. In the beginning, he is playing melancholy when he finds purpose Phoenix perks up his performance. Another thing that works in this movie was the mystery elements in this film. It was not a traditional who done it type mystery because you know who did it. What makes it work is that the mystery revolves around whether or not he gets away with it. I thought Allen had incorporated that element of the mystery successfully.
The only con I had with the film is that pacing. The set up to, and ultimate resolution of the central event of the movie is a slow burn. While the slow burn approach allows the relationship between Stone and Phoenix to be well developed, there are places in the film where it drags and becomes dull. The slow burn approach also adds fluff to the movie, and there is stuff in the film that probably could have been cut out. If the movie had better pacing then the film would be faster and a movie that is more engaging to watch.
While, Irrational Man may not be one of Allen’s best films, it does contain great performances from the leads. However, it does drag in places because it does of some pacing issues. Irrational Man receives 3/5.