Irrational Man: Woody Allen’s Disappointing Tale of Existentialism and Perfect Murder

irrational_man_posterOpens July 17

In his 45th feature, Woody Allen joins a long list of distinguished filmmakers, headed by Hitchcock, who have examined the issue of the “perfect” murder.  Unfortunately, his film is more ambitious in conception than execution, and is not sufficiently grounded in any recognizable reality (I will explain later).

In its more serious theme and darker tone, “Irrational Man” continues Allen’s explorations in two previous–and much better–pictures: “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” of 1989, and “Match Point,” a decade ago.


Our Grade: C+ (** out of *****)

Commercial Prospects

Commercial prospects are mediocre for a film that raises more questions than it can possibly answers, and is far less entertaining than recent comedies, such as the fluffy and shallow but also entertaining “Midnight in Paris,” or the fabulously-acted melodrama, “Blue Jasmine,” which was Woody Allen’s homage to Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

irrational_man_8_phoenixWorld premiering at the 2015 Cannes Film Fest, Irrational Man will be released on July 17 by Sony Pictures Classics as counterprogramming to Hollywood’s blockbusters.

In a Cannes interview, Allen noted: “Since I was very young for whatever reason I’ve been drawn to what people always call the ‘big questions.’  In my work they’ve become subjects I kid around with if it’s a comedy or deal with on a more confrontational way if it’s a drama.”

irrational_man_9_stoneJoaquin Phoenix, who is quickly becoming a quintessential actor of his generation, having worked with Spike Jonze in “Her,” and more recently with Paul Thomas Anderson in “Inherent Vice,” is well cast as Abe Lucas, a philosophy professor who’s appointed to a small Rhode Island college.

I have been a university professor for over three decades but have never met anyone like Abe, an alcoholic academic, who drinks freely on campus grounds, and enjoys having affairs with his female students.  Early on, we learn that Abe’s wife had recently left him for his best friend, and that he has observed the traumatic death of a friend killed by a land mine in Iraq.

The fictional Braylin College (actually Newport’s Salve Regina University) seems to be a liberal arts college so dormant and passive that it kind of eagerly awaits for (even expects) a man like Ave to arrive and stir some action and drama. And, boy, does Abe ever?

Behaving casually in the classroom, Abe tells his impressionable students that “much of philosophy is verbal masturbation.” Later on, he is seen playing Russian roulette in front of onlookers at an off-campus party.

irrational_man_6_stoneLacking the smooth flow of events in Allens’ good pictures, this tale relies not on one but on two voice-over narrations.  “Emotionally, I had arrived at Zabriskie Point,” Abe says, but it’s unclear whether he means what he says, or whether he understands the implications of his statement–if taken seriously.

Braylin’s female faculty and students seem sexually and/pr emotionally starved, judging by how they court and offer themselves to Abe.  Take, for example, Jill Pollard (Emma Stone), a bright student in Abe’s summer “ethical strategies” class, who becomes more than intrigued by her professor, to the point of neglecting her own boyfriend.

Then there is the more mature (in age at least) Rita Richards (Parker Posey), an unhappily married professor who tries to seduce him over and over again until she succeeds.  That Abe, who may suffer from impotence or depression (or both),  is able to perform only after he commits murder, raises some unsettling issues about crime and (lack of) punishment.

irrational_man_5The film’s livelier sessions are those depicting the growing affection between Abe and Jill, who ‘s trying to understand how and why a man who was once activist and relief worker Darfur and New Orleans, has lost interest not only in political activism but in life itself, reaching a point of unexplainable passivity.


irrational_man_2_stone_phoenixThe main stimulus that pulls Abe out of his depression is accidental, a random conversation in the local diner, in which a desperate woman discusses her custody battle with a creepy husband and corrupt judge.  Out of the blue, Abe decides to dispose of  the judge in a seemingly “perfect” murder, in broad daylight at a public park (no more can be revealed). His overt motivation is to make the world a better place to live, but there is something else going on a deeper, perhaps subconscious or unconscious level.

irrational_man_4_stone_phoenixUnlike Hitchcock’s villainous murderers, Abe is inexperienced and makes a series of fatal mistakes, such as visiting he college’s lab to inquire about different kinds of poisons and getting spotted there by one of his students.

The movie is replete with references to Kierkegaard, Freud, Dostoevsky, Heidegger, Kant, Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, most of which amount to name-dropping, contained in a rather shallow effort to explain or understand behavior in philosophically existential terms.

Dark but not particularly profound, Irrational Man feels like a movie that was quickly made and not fully realized on any level–writing, directing, and acting.

It’s pointless to say that it’s slightly better than Allen’s last film, the trifle Magic in the Mountain, which was the first collaboration between the director and the talented Emma Stone.

Spoiler Alert

irrational_man_3_stone_phoenixThe notion of murder arouses Abe not only intellectually but also emotionally and sexually.  After the killing, which for a while goes well and undetected, there is no more creative block, no more erotic problems.

Allen has said that his movie’s title is inspired by a 1958 volume by philosopher and literary critic William Christopher Barrett, which sought to explain existentialism in simpler ways.

The last scene, in which the professor tries to kill his favorite student strikes me as homage to the last scene in Hitchcock’s 1943 masterpieces, “Shadow of a Doubt,” where Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) tries to kill his previously favorite and adoring niece, Young Charlie (Teresa Wright).  Allen sets the scene in an elevator in broad daylight in a campus building that rather incredibly has no other people but the professor and student; in Hitchcock’s film, the lethal scene is set aboard a train.


Running time: 94 Minutes.

Directed, written by Woody Allen.

Camera (Fotokem, Panavision widescreen), Darius Khondji

Editor, Alisa Lepselter

Production designer, Santo Loquasto

Art director, Carl Sprague

Costume designer, Suzy Benzinger

Sound, David J. Schwartz



xosotin chelseathông tin chuyển nhượngcâu lạc bộ bóng đá arsenalbóng đá atalantabundesligacầu thủ haalandUEFAevertonxosokeonhacaiketquabongdalichthidau7m.newskqbdtysokeobongdabongdalufutebol ao vivofutemaxmulticanaisonbethttps://bsport.fithttps://onbet88.ooohttps://i9bet.bizhttps://hi88.ooohttps://okvip.athttps://f8bet.athttps://fb88.cashhttps://vn88.cashhttps://shbet.atbóng đá world cupbóng đá inter milantin juventusbenzemala ligaclb leicester cityMUman citymessi lionelsalahnapolineymarpsgronaldoserie atottenhamvalenciaAS ROMALeverkusenac milanmbappenapolinewcastleaston villaliverpoolfa cupreal madridpremier leagueAjaxbao bong da247EPLbarcelonabournemouthaff cupasean footballbên lề sân cỏbáo bóng đá mớibóng đá cúp thế giớitin bóng đá ViệtUEFAbáo bóng đá việt namHuyền thoại bóng đágiải ngoại hạng anhSeagametap chi bong da the gioitin bong da lutrận đấu hôm nayviệt nam bóng đátin nong bong daBóng đá nữthể thao 7m24h bóng đábóng đá hôm naythe thao ngoai hang anhtin nhanh bóng đáphòng thay đồ bóng đábóng đá phủikèo nhà cái onbetbóng đá lu 2thông tin phòng thay đồthe thao vuaapp đánh lô đềdudoanxosoxổ số giải đặc biệthôm nay xổ sốkèo đẹp hôm nayketquaxosokq xskqxsmnsoi cầu ba miềnsoi cau thong kesxkt hôm naythế giới xổ sốxổ số 24hxo.soxoso3mienxo so ba mienxoso dac bietxosodientoanxổ số dự đoánvé số chiều xổxoso ket quaxosokienthietxoso kq hôm nayxoso ktxổ số megaxổ số mới nhất hôm nayxoso truc tiepxoso ViệtSX3MIENxs dự đoánxs mien bac hom nayxs miên namxsmientrungxsmn thu 7con số may mắn hôm nayKQXS 3 miền Bắc Trung Nam Nhanhdự đoán xổ số 3 miềndò vé sốdu doan xo so hom nayket qua xo xoket qua xo so.vntrúng thưởng xo sokq xoso trực tiếpket qua xskqxs 247số miền nams0x0 mienbacxosobamien hôm naysố đẹp hôm naysố đẹp trực tuyếnnuôi số đẹpxo so hom quaxoso ketquaxstruc tiep hom nayxổ số kiến thiết trực tiếpxổ số kq hôm nayso xo kq trực tuyenkết quả xổ số miền bắc trực tiếpxo so miền namxổ số miền nam trực tiếptrực tiếp xổ số hôm nayket wa xsKQ XOSOxoso onlinexo so truc tiep hom nayxsttso mien bac trong ngàyKQXS3Msố so mien bacdu doan xo so onlinedu doan cau loxổ số kenokqxs vnKQXOSOKQXS hôm naytrực tiếp kết quả xổ số ba miềncap lo dep nhat hom naysoi cầu chuẩn hôm nayso ket qua xo soXem kết quả xổ số nhanh nhấtSX3MIENXSMB chủ nhậtKQXSMNkết quả mở giải trực tuyếnGiờ vàng chốt số OnlineĐánh Đề Con Gìdò số miền namdò vé số hôm nayso mo so debach thủ lô đẹp nhất hôm naycầu đề hôm naykết quả xổ số kiến thiết toàn quốccau dep 88xsmb rong bach kimket qua xs 2023dự đoán xổ số hàng ngàyBạch thủ đề miền BắcSoi Cầu MB thần tàisoi cau vip 247soi cầu tốtsoi cầu miễn phísoi cau mb vipxsmb hom nayxs vietlottxsmn hôm naycầu lô đẹpthống kê lô kép xổ số miền Bắcquay thử xsmnxổ số thần tàiQuay thử XSMTxổ số chiều nayxo so mien nam hom nayweb đánh lô đề trực tuyến uy tínKQXS hôm nayxsmb ngày hôm nayXSMT chủ nhậtxổ số Power 6/55KQXS A trúng roycao thủ chốt sốbảng xổ số đặc biệtsoi cầu 247 vipsoi cầu wap 666Soi cầu miễn phí 888 VIPSoi Cau Chuan MBđộc thủ desố miền bắcthần tài cho sốKết quả xổ số thần tàiXem trực tiếp xổ sốXIN SỐ THẦN TÀI THỔ ĐỊACầu lô số đẹplô đẹp vip 24hsoi cầu miễn phí 888xổ số kiến thiết chiều nayXSMN thứ 7 hàng tuầnKết quả Xổ số Hồ Chí Minhnhà cái xổ số Việt NamXổ Số Đại PhátXổ số mới nhất Hôm Nayso xo mb hom nayxxmb88quay thu mbXo so Minh ChinhXS Minh Ngọc trực tiếp hôm nayXSMN 88XSTDxs than taixổ số UY TIN NHẤTxs vietlott 88SOI CẦU SIÊU CHUẨNSoiCauVietlô đẹp hôm nay vipket qua so xo hom naykqxsmb 30 ngàydự đoán xổ số 3 miềnSoi cầu 3 càng chuẩn xácbạch thủ lônuoi lo chuanbắt lô chuẩn theo ngàykq xo-solô 3 càngnuôi lô đề siêu vipcầu Lô Xiên XSMBđề về bao nhiêuSoi cầu x3xổ số kiến thiết ngày hôm nayquay thử xsmttruc tiep kết quả sxmntrực tiếp miền bắckết quả xổ số chấm vnbảng xs đặc biệt năm 2023soi cau xsmbxổ số hà nội hôm naysxmtxsmt hôm nayxs truc tiep mbketqua xo so onlinekqxs onlinexo số hôm nayXS3MTin xs hôm nayxsmn thu2XSMN hom nayxổ số miền bắc trực tiếp hôm naySO XOxsmbsxmn hôm nay188betlink188 xo sosoi cầu vip 88lô tô việtsoi lô việtXS247xs ba miềnchốt lô đẹp nhất hôm naychốt số xsmbCHƠI LÔ TÔsoi cau mn hom naychốt lô chuẩndu doan sxmtdự đoán xổ số onlinerồng bạch kim chốt 3 càng miễn phí hôm naythống kê lô gan miền bắcdàn đề lôCầu Kèo Đặc Biệtchốt cầu may mắnkết quả xổ số miền bắc hômSoi cầu vàng 777thẻ bài onlinedu doan mn 888soi cầu miền nam vipsoi cầu mt vipdàn de hôm nay7 cao thủ chốt sốsoi cau mien phi 7777 cao thủ chốt số nức tiếng3 càng miền bắcrồng bạch kim 777dàn de bất bạion newsddxsmn188betw88w88789bettf88sin88suvipsunwintf88five8812betsv88vn88Top 10 nhà cái uy tínsky88iwinlucky88nhacaisin88oxbetm88vn88w88789betiwinf8betrio66rio66lucky88oxbetvn88188bet789betMay-88five88one88sin88bk88xbetoxbetMU88188BETSV88RIO66ONBET88188betM88M88SV88Jun-68Jun-88one88iwinv9betw388OXBETw388w388onbetonbetonbetonbet88onbet88onbet88onbet88onbetonbetonbetonbetqh88mu88Nhà cái uy tínpog79vp777vp777vipbetvipbetuk88uk88typhu88typhu88tk88tk88sm66sm66me88me888live8live8livesm66me88win798livesm66me88win79pog79pog79vp777vp777uk88uk88tk88tk88luck8luck8kingbet86kingbet86k188k188hr99hr99123b8xbetvnvipbetsv66zbettaisunwin-vntyphu88vn138vwinvwinvi68ee881xbetrio66zbetvn138i9betvipfi88clubcf68onbet88ee88typhu88onbetonbetkhuyenmai12bet-moblie12betmoblietaimienphi247vi68clupcf68clupvipbeti9betqh88onb123onbefsoi cầunổ hũbắn cáđá gàđá gàgame bàicasinosoi cầuxóc đĩagame bàigiải mã giấc mơbầu cuaslot gamecasinonổ hủdàn đềBắn cácasinodàn đềnổ hũtài xỉuslot gamecasinobắn cáđá gàgame bàithể thaogame bàisoi cầukqsssoi cầucờ tướngbắn cágame bàixóc đĩa开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育亚新体育亚新体育亚新体育爱游戏爱游戏爱游戏华体会华体会华体会IM体育IM体育沙巴体育沙巴体育PM体育PM体育AG尊龙AG尊龙AG尊龙AG百家乐AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人<AG真人<皇冠体育皇冠体育PG电子PG电子万博体育万博体育KOK体育KOK体育欧宝体育江南体育江南体育江南体育半岛体育半岛体育半岛体育凯发娱乐凯发娱乐杏彩体育杏彩体育杏彩体育FB体育PM真人PM真人<米乐娱乐米乐娱乐天博体育天博体育开元棋牌开元棋牌j9九游会j9九游会开云体育AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人爱游戏华体会华体会im体育kok体育开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育欧宝体育ob体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育开云体育开云体育棋牌棋牌沙巴体育买球平台新葡京娱乐开云体育mu88qh88
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter