God's Little Acre

God's Little Acre
Lord, make way for gold

the girlfriend experience

the girlfriend experience
chelsea's work

Trash Humpers

Trash Humpers
broken, faked, MADE

Saturday, July 18, 2015

more people should hate him. IRRATIONAL MAN: A Closer View

Auteurism is one thing, but there is another process whose frequency capsizes as aging accelerates:  artists rewriting and remaking their past work.  Such revisions can be all bold strokes; pared down characters, dramas remade as absurdism, new forms of artistic representation, and nearer to end of life gallows humor.  Woody Allen's IRRATIONAL MAN is a clear example.
A comedic, tidier (and less impressive) MATCH POINT, IRRATIONAL MAN reunites Allen with a narrative in homage to Dostoevsky, and an obnoxious fucking female romantic partner who needs to be shut up at all costs.
The problems are plenty.
From inception, Phoenix's "Abe Lucas" is only Jewish by name default.  His troubles are interiorized. A miserable man who has suffered unlucky traumas in his past, the writing and tone of the picture capsulizes Abe more as a charming, laterally broader Cary Grant.  We are told Abe overindulges in negative thoughts, alcohol, solitude and Russian literature.  The only time we see this for ourselves is in the  breadth of his belly distension and lazily propped liquor cask in hand.

Abe with blousy Rita. Well matched.

power play.  With the always cutely coiffed and dolled up Jill

Two love interests waft in and out, deflecting Abe from his self imposed charismatic ennui. Parker Posey as fellow professor Rita; a breezy, sexy prisoner of her own unsatisfying life. And Emma Stone  as a precocious student,  Jill, inexperienced in life, and Schopenhauring her will to be interesting.


Though Abe quotes past traumas and losses in his life, they are quoted meaninglessly, and without personal depth, as if making conversation. This is how this character is written, and Phoenix personalizes the shallow and charming bibliophile/professor in ways one can't help but admire. Phoenix, Posey and a great supporting play by Peter Scolari,  all surpass the rote characterizations and inanity of Allen's conceit.  
  Early on in the film, as Abe is so offhanded in nature about deep tragedies, any rational person may see the calculation behind the charmingly bookish, nebbishy veneer.  
Phoenix allows a depth to his character not clearly enough established or alluded to in the writing.

One experience one cannot avoid in this picture is the irrational performance of Emma Stone.
She shouts her lines affectedly, and her cute, curt performance of love is never convincing.  Stone, who I liked in BIRDMAN although I did not care for that film, seems mis directed or mis cast.

Scarlett Johansen she is not.  MATCH POINT was so evil and cold all around, the tone and performances cooled together into a viscous gel both crystal clear yet thickly complex.  Whenever Stone 's character speaks in IRRATIONAL MAN, I'd ask myself myself if she reads so immature and horrible so her performance indicates her own calculation and machinations under her fresh faced bourgeois veneer.
I'm just not convinced.


Lorna's Silence

Lorna's Silence
spirit interrupts

the girlfriend experience

the girlfriend experience
chelsea managing the business

l'Interieur

l'Interieur
cutting through the walls