Woody Allen is one of the most prolific directors working today, having made about a film a year since he started back in the late ’60s. His latest is Irrational Man – featuring Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone and Parker Posey – and the first trailer has just appeared online.
The plot couldn’t be anymore Allen-esque if it tried, focusing on a philosophy professor (Phoenix) of a small town college campus who is in the middle of an existential crisis. However, his life is given new purpose when he starts a relationship with a beautiful and spirited student (Stone).
From the trailer it seems like the director is marrying his trademark neurotic sensibilities with a lighter touch. By nature of how prolific he is, his films are hit and miss – for every Blue Jasmine and Midnight in Paris, there’s a To Rome With Love and Magic in the Moonlight – but here’s hoping this is one of his better film in recent times.
Watch the trailer below:
Are you a Woody Allen fan? Does this look like one of his better efforts?
Irrational Man doesn’t have an official UK release date yet but is set for July 24th in the U.S. We’ll update once the UK date is announced.
I’m a freelance film reviewer and blogger with over 10 years of experience writing for various different reputable online and print publications. In addition to my running, editing and writing for Thoughts On Film, I am also the film critic for The National, the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland, covering the weekly film releases, film festivals and film-related features.
I have a passion for all types of cinema, and have a particular love for foreign language film, especially South Korean and Japanese cinema. Favourite films include The Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
We don’t usually post trailers individually – saving them for the Trailer Watch – but this one was just too good to pass up.
The Revenant is the new film from acclaimed director Alejandro González Iñárritu, who most recently won an Oscar for Birdman. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson and Will Poulter in a tale of a forntierman in 1820 who sets out on a path of vengeance who left him for dead after a bear mauling.
There’s something pleasing about the reliable presence of a new Woody Allen film every single year. Every time his trademark font appears on-screen, with the cast list in alphabetical order rather than of importance, fans of his work know they’re in comforting cinematic hands even when the end result isn’t necessarily the strongest the writer-director has ever been.
His last effort was the inconsequential but not entirely unenjoyable Magic in the Moonlight. Now he’s back on form with this tale of Abe Lucas (Joaquin Phoenix), a despondent philosophical professor who moves to a small town to teach. Once there he inappropriately gets involved with one of his more spirited students (Stone). One day the two of them overhear a stranger’s conversation in a diner, leading him to commit a drastic existential act that he believes will give his life true meaning, no matter the effect on those around him.
In the past Allen has used his very particular brand of neurotic witticism to explore such things as obsessive love (Annie Hall), absurdist historical events (Love and Death) and mental illness (Blue Jasmine), to name but a mere few. Here is playing around with the idea of morality and what that means in the face of murder. Can it ever be justified, under the right circumstances? And what happens when one person sees the logic in it while the other, understandably, just can’t get on board? Allen’s mix of light-hearted quirkiness (verging on the whimsical) with these deathly serious themes makes for a fascinatingly disconcerting film that sits on the weightier side of his oeuvre.
As is almost always the case even with Allen’s lesser works, the performances are spot-on. Phoenix is fittingly awkward yet compelling as the dejected philosophy professor trying to find meaning in a world where he himself preaches – to his students and himself – meaninglessness. There’s an inward subtlety to the character that might not have been there if given to a less astute actor. Then there’s Emma Stone; if Magic in the Moonlight saw Allen admiring her from afar, this is him infatuated with her. Her face seems to fill the entire screen whenever she’s on it, exuding a charm, cuteness and just the right amount of quirky oddness that gives a potentially trite character much more meaning and truth.
As it progresses and it becomes clearer and clearer the road that the film is ultimately choosing to travel down, it becomes a case where you have to just throw your hands up in the air and go with it. For those unconvinced by the admittedly jarring mix of amiable quirkiness and obvious darkness, the destination will be too much to bear.
But if you’re on board with what Allen is trying to do then there’s something pleasingly unsettling about the film, in spite of or perhaps because of the awkward bumps along the road. It may be done in a more carefree manner akin to some his more throwaway efforts but there’s at least a feeling that not only does Allen have something genuine to say this time around but he actually believes it.