19 July 2015 | cb2369
A Pure Woody Comedy At Top Form
I saw this movie today and it was just a breath of fresh air. In this era of political correctness and the consequent surge of tragicomedies that seem to be made to drive home the point that everything in life must be serious, Woody, in his infinite wisdom, has prescribed us a style of comedy often hated, misunderstood, and forgotten: the murder comedy a la Chaplin's Monsieur Verdoux. I haven't laughed this hard at someone trying to kill another person since Preston Sturges's 1948 film Unfaithfully Yours, even though it's ultimately a much more understated English style of humor (very Comedy of Manners-ish.) As such, it doesn't surprise me that Irrational Man has been hated by most critics, since they are likely to fall into the trap of expecting that this movie will be one of the aforementioned tragicomedies, and thus simply think it fails to deliver. Instead, here Woody seems to find comedy in everything from Kant to sexism to suicide to faculty gossip, and as a consequence, the movie ends up as loose as his "early funny movies," unfortunately adding just another layer that might further confuse audiences. Essentially, if you don't find the satire quick you just won't understand what you're watching. On the actor side of things, Stone and Joaquin really kill it. It almost feels like they can turn the intensity up as easily as turning a knob, and there are three moments when you really get a sense of how far they can go.
This will certainly be on a list of Woody's most underrated movies in ten years time if the bad reception it gets doesn't slow down, and I hope that people will take the time to realize just what this movie is because I think they'd really have a good time watching it.