Irrational Man | Film review - Woody Allen's darkly comic tale of crime and punishment

Irrational Man Joaquin Phoenix Emma Stone.jpg
(Image credit: Sabrina Lantos)

Woody Allen delivers another of his darkly comic moral fables about crime and punishment, guilt and fate in Irrational Man, a tale of a depressed philosophy professor who re-ignites his burnt-out life by secretly committing a dark deed. Overly wordy and sometimes flat, the film is a distinctly patchy affair. Yet it remains weirdly compelling.

Joaquin Phoenix is engagingly off-kilter as the flabby, jaded professor with angst in his pants and Emma Stone brings real spark to her stock role as the button-bright undergraduate who falls for him, while on the soundtrack the propulsive groove of the Ramsey Lewis Trio's mid-60s jazz hit 'The In Crowd' gives the film nervy pep.

Certificiate 12A. Runtime 91 mins. Director Woody Allen

 Irrational Man is available on DVD & Digital Download from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Win Irrational Man on DVD.

Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.