AFF 2014: THE CONGRESS Review

Ari Folman's The Congress is a trip in more ways than one.  It's visuals are lush and its ideas are rich.  Like Folman's previous film, Waltz with Bashir, the writer-director isn't using animation only as visual expression, but also bolsters the themes by using the form in the first place.  The filmmaker carefully builds his movie like a house of cards by trying to use the acting profession as a spring board and then expanding it to an exploration of self-definition, dreams, hallucinations, and detachment from reality.  The film can be so head-spinning that it's possible to get dizzy and lose focus, but when The Congress is on point, it's as fascinating as it gorgeous. Robin Wright plays a variation on her real-world self by being described as a hot actress who used to have the world at her finger tips, but a series of bad decisions and bad behavior have left her with a dead-end career.  Her hard-charging agent Al (Harvey Keitel) pushes her to take a rare opportunity from Miramount Pictures.  The studio's head, Jeff (Danny Huston), says that they will scan both her body and her emotions into a computer, and she will live forever young.  The catch is that she can't work as an actress for the next twenty years.  Desperate to support her son Aaron (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who's going blind and deaf, she takes the deal.  However, the unforeseen consequences of her actions lead to a bizarre world where reality has been almost completely eradicated and ...
March 31, 2014