Rather reheated in many respects - refer to Crimes and Misdemeanours for a less contrived nod to Dostoevsky and practically any other Allen for the older man/younger woman relationship - and lumbered with an unconvincing central device (of which everyone seems to have an inexplicable interest). Allen is rarely less than watchable but this is a very pallid affair despite - or because of - the existential pebbledash.
As Abe points out in one of his classes, "So much of philosophy is just verbal masturbation", and so is Irrational Man's take on ethics of murder, banality of evil, problems of chance and choice, etc. Unlike Match Point, Allen forces the problem of chance and choice on the film. The choice is not dramatized because Abe and Jill are not much of characters, only puppets uttering Allen's big words.
At first glance, this seems like simply re-hashed material that Allen has already done much better in earlier films. But I don't tire of his Crime&Punishment permutations. This one might be the most self-reflexive of the series: a depiction of the ultra-bourgeois reassurance that accompanies a privileged cynical nihilism. I think there is a faint note of contempt present in the tone of this movie.
Yet another Allen interpretation/rehash of Dostoyevski led by an always impeccable cast. Pleasant but forgettable. But oh, Parker Posey, how I adore you and how I enjoyed savouring you in this minor Allen film. My wish goes to be casted in one of his greatest latest future efforts.
What an almost garbage movie! The philosophical references were at best for teens who want to feel smart, quotes from some writers that every decent - however ignorant - man knows about. It basically hugs your desire to watch "smart, profound stuff", but there's no depth in it, just superficiality and bad taste. It saves the day saying that Dostoyevsky "got it", but overall, I expected a whole lot more from W. Allen.
Using philosophy and literature as a tool to jump from one genre to another so that irony and paradox could lower down lofty themes of morality and existentialism to a level of self-preservation and banality. It's like making a satire of something serious to make serious out of something that is supposed to be a satire. A love letter to Allen's filmography in general with perfect casting of Joaquin Phoenix.
I gave up on this film as soon as Phoenix's character imposed his pedestrian "critique" of Kant's ethics on a student. What followed was an endless stream of dreadful sub-Cioran angst, with Allen's insufferable tendency towards name-dropping. "Match Point" was a much more tolerable Dostoievskian piece. This one's comical at best.