Irrational Man

I went to see Woody Allen’s new film yesterday, about a homicidal philosophy professor. The story itself was paper thin, as well as absurd, and the dialogue clunking and cliched, with none of the usual Woody Allen wit and charm. But what really struck me was the low level of the philosophy in the film. Woody has been preoccupied with philosophy for his entire career, so you might think he had made a study of it. But to call the philosophy in this film sophomoric would be insulting to sophomores. Mainly confined to superficial readings of existentialism, it bore no relation to philosophy as it is taught in universities; the one reference to the “analytic tradition” was pathetically ignorant. The supposedly brilliant professor came across as a complete nincompoop. You would think Woody might bone up a bit on philosophy if he is going to make a film about a philosophy professor, but so such thing. What has he been reading all these years?

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