The Congress (2014)
Critic Consensus: The Congress rises on the strength of Robin Wright's powerful performance, with enough ambitious storytelling and technical thrills to overcome its somewhat messy structure.
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Critic Reviews for The Congress
The anger drains out of the picture, and we watch in a state of passive appreciation and indifference.
An acquired taste, this dense Jabberwocky-ish word salad is a political allegory about a populace that's been pharmaceutically duped into believing its wretched world is wonderful.
A half-live-action, half-animated headtrip that throws Robin Wright into a dizzying showbiz paradigm shift.
A dystopian blend of live-action and animation that acidly comments on some of Hollywood's touchiest issues before drifting off into an existential fog.
It's almost painful to watch the immense promise of "The Congress," Ari Folman's spectacularly ambitious experiment, dissipate into nothing.
Audience Reviews for The Congress
It may feel disjointed to some viewers as it did to me when I first saw it, but I was wrong; in fact, this is a beautiful film that has Robin Wright in a fantastic performance and offers a fascinating discussion about reality and the thin line separating the escapism of Hollywood movies from alienation.
Jeff: Once we've scanned you, there's no going back.
I saw writer/director's Ari Folman's 2008 film Waltz with Bashir and was very intrigued by where he would go next. That film revolved around a character searching for his lost memories as an Israeli soldier and was made using unique animation techniques. Folman's new film, The Congress, is similarly about finding one's self in a sense, but it comes at this topic from a different angle. Based on a science fiction novel by Stanislaw Lem, The Congress follows a character through an allegorical world that depicts the extreme merging of the entertainment industry and technology in ways so complex that people literally become animated characters. This is a film that has too many ideas to fully make work, but thanks to a strong lead performance by Robin Wright, let alone the nature of the film, there is a lot to appreciate or dissect about what is seen in The Congress; aspects that I am still thinking about.
read the whole review at thecodeiszeek.com
In "The Congress," the actress Robin Wright lives on the edge of nowhere and an airport with her two teenaged children, Sarah(Sami Gayle) and Aaron(Kodi Smit-McPhee). Excited to get an offer of any sort, she travels with her longtime agent, Al(Harvey Keitel), to meet with Jeff Green(Danny Huston), the chief of Miramount Studios. It turns out to be something totally different from what she was expecting. Namely, as Jeff puts it, it is to be scanned into a computer, and as he puts it the last deal she will ever make. She declines it flat. But then realizing how much care Aaron will require as he is slowly going deaf and blind, she agrees, with a few conditions.
"The Congress" is a movie about transitions, willing and not, that only begins with this possibly being a transition for director Ari Folman towards live action fiction movies. As far as this being about a transition for Robin Wright, this movie serves as a critical exploration of the difficulty actresses finding work as they get older.(Jeff Green scoffs as Robin's leaving porn off the list. "At her age?" You'd be surprised...)
That's only the beginning as "The Congress," criticizing other science fiction movies as dumb, does the one thing that all decent science fiction movies should be in being about ideas, namely how technology does not always spur on creativity, with hand drawn animation being a prime example used while never forgetting the human element involved. Yes, some of that can be filed under a narrative stretch, but the occasional spectacular imagery makes up for that, not only the animation but also the former hangar and the scanning scene.
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