IRRATIONAL MAN (12A)
IRRATIONAL MAN (12A)
Run time: 96mins
Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, Parker Posey, Jamie Blackley
Synopsis: Brilliant philosophy professor Abe Lucas comes to work at a small-town college much to the excitement of the locals. But Abe is an alcoholic who is suffering from depression and questioning the meaning of his existence. He becomes romantically involved with colleague Rita and precocious student Jill, the latter of whom helps to improve his mood. But it is when he overhears a conversation about a corrupt judge that he finally feels he has found his true calling: to commit a murder…
Woody Allen’s 45th film as writer/director delivers murder, morality and a great jazz soundtrack. Teaming up with the mesmerising actor, Joaquin Phoenix [Inherent Vice (2014) Her (2013) The Master (2012) Walk the Line (2005) Gladiator (2000)] and Emma Stone [Magic in the Moonlight (2014) Birdman (2014)] this is a story that echoes his previous Crimes and Misdemeanours (1989), Match Point (2005) and Cassandra’s Dream (2007) and gives a nod to Hitchcock [Strangers on a Train (1951)]
IRRATIONAL MAN is about a tormented philosophy professor who finds a will to live when he commits an existential act.
Philosophy professor Abe Lucas (Joaquin Phoenix) is at rock bottom emotionally, unable to find any meaning or joy in life. Abe feels that everything he’s tried to do, from political activism to teaching, hasn’t made any difference.
Soon after arriving to teach at the liberal Braylin University, Abe gets involved with two women: Rita Richards (Parker Posey), a lonely professor who wants him to rescue her from her unhappy marriage; and Jill Pollard (Emma Stone), his best student, who becomes his closest friend. While Jill loves her boyfriend Roy (Jamie Blackley), she finds Abe’s tortured, artistic personality and exotic past irresistible. Even as Abe displays signs of mental imbalance, Jill’s fascination with him only grows. Still, when she tries to make their relationship a romantic one, he rebuffs her.
Pure chance changes everything when Abe and Jill overhear a stranger’s conversation and become drawn in.
Once Abe makes a profound choice, he is able to embrace life to the fullest again. But his decision sets off a chain of events that will affect him, Jill and Rita forever.
There are plenty of witty one-liners about Philosophy, Dostoevsky and even Leopold and Loeb and non-politically correct laughs; and once again Phoenix turns in such a magnificent performance – complete with fat gut – that he really steals the film.
Images courtesy of Warner Bros