Irrational Man

WRITTEN BY: Woody Allen
DIRECTED BY: Woody Allen
STARRING: Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, Parker Posey, Jamie Blackley
RATING: 3.5 stars

Abe Lucas (Joaquin Phoenix) is widely revered philosophy professor who has lost his zest for life when he moves to a small town college to teach. There, he meets Rita Richards (Parker Posey) who is unhappily married and wants to begin a romance with Abe. He also meets Jill Pollard (Emma Stone), who is a bright student and quickly becomes his new best friend. Jill is dating Roy (Jamie Blackley) but finds Abe's tortured mind and artistic personality fascinating. When the pair overhear a conversation about a shady judge, Abe comes up with a way to reinvigorate his life. He decides he wants to commit a murder.

Irrational Man is a mildly interesting dark comedy with the second half of the film really picking up the quirkiness and intensity, but it is still probably one of Woody Allen's weakest films in recent years. The film only runs for 95 minutes, but it feels longer and that is because the first act moves too slowly. Nonetheless, the film explores some interesting themes including existentialism, romanticism, morality and cynicism. Like most of Allen's other works, the story centres on a handful of protagonists and most of the character development is rich. Phoenix and Stone are both believable in their roles, but Posey's character is one-dimensional. Ultimately, despite Irrational Man being a slightly less satisfying Allen film, it is still far more original, witty and unpredictable than a lot of other films that will be bigger box office hits this year.