Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

The Congress

The Congress
Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Danny Huston and Jon Hamm

Rated: No rating 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date:  August 29, 2014 Released by: Drafthouse Films

Ari Folman (Waltz With Bashir) combines a plotting haze with various celluloid styles/eras to use a "hermetically scanned" actress in an odd live-action animated sci-fi fantasy.

The Congress stars a very committed Robin Wright as a thespian trying to find challenging roles in Hollywood as she moves further into middle age (though she's been on a role of late if you are a Netflix subscriber). Wouldn't it be something to not be who you are but as you would like to be, but in a personal, if cinematic compromise.

Miramount studios persuades her not to be wiped away from silver screen history (through a small, hollow orb) and the ambitious cineaste raises the issue of how identity is used in the digital age (something that was touched on in films ranging from Simone to Transcendence). Harvey Keitel, Danny Huston, and Jon Hamm (as a studio animator bigwig) figure into the selling out process which feels like an emotional roller-coaster. In her new "situation" instead of what many aging actresses must deal with; a live in cinema can be seen through anime and live action to create on-line characterizations.

A surreal kaleidoscope has an actor relational schematic to provoke through commodity in ways that recalls movies from Fantasia to the recent wildly intoxicating, of course, outré Holy Motors from Leo Carax. Something distinctive in a gamut running through the golden through the digital age has the imagery for alternative reality or fantasy interpretation that is hard to fully absorb maybe from a bleakly, confined construct. Thanks to a willing Wright as humanity is humbled more than it wants to be The Congress still remains a trenchant mobius strip with enough vividly detailed animation to please a fair share of art house patrons.

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