The Certainty of Chance – ★★★½
There is a certain warm feeling you get being a Woody Allen fan of seeing the familiar font and simplistic credits roll on another tale from the controversial figure. He tends to stick with the same actors and with Irrational Man, Emma Stone appears who we saw in his last picture Magic in the Moonlight. Here she plays Jill, a college student under the tutelage of Abe, a misanthropic lush who has lost his joie de vivre and is played by Joaquin Phoenix.
As with most Woody Allen films it doesn’t outstay it’s welcome (clocking in around the 90 minute mark), so proceedings get under way quite briskly. A love triangle of sorts develops between Jill, Abe and another woman Rita (Paker Posey) who is a bored lecturer determined to get Abe to rescue her from a mundane existence. Some of the dialogue is clunky and at times there is an awkwardness between the leads which seems more an issue with chemistry than a character trait.
“The In Crowd” by The Ramsey Lewis Trio is heard throughout the film, giving it a cool breezy feel yet bringing it’s own sense of tension. Every time we hear the piano keys sound we know something is about to happen. We must remember Woody Allen started as a script writer and performed briefly as a stand up comedian continuing to write prolifically through out his career. Irrational Man seems like a perfectly crafted short story that you might find in The New Yorker, simple to begin with, yet quickly becoming apparent there is much more at work beneath the surface.
The trailer for Irrational Man will certainly win the award for not showing what happens in the film as there is an enormous plot twist coming half that appears from nowhere, yet shows that comic madness and genius of Allen. Of course I will not divulge it here and would encourage you to stay clear of other reviews, as always.
Irrational Man opens on Friday the 11th of September