The Congress Review: Vote it Down

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Look, I’m glad movies like this are getting made. The Congress is far more imaginative and artistic as something like Transformers: Age of Extinction, but it’s just as terrible.

The film starts off with an interesting enough concept. Robin Wright plays herself as her agent (Harvey Keitel) brings her on her last audition ever. After too long a period of debate, the actress signs away her career and likeness to Miramount Studios, who plans to digitally replicate her face in as many movies as they want. She never has to read a script or step onto a set ever again, but will appear in a variety of films. For all intents and purposes, Miramount owns Robin Wright.

We fast forward twenty years to a world much different from the present. Much of the rest of the film is animated, sort of taking a page from Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly. The animation is written off as technology that allows people to become whoever they want.

But then the plot gets muddled in its own motives and the dystopia we’re thrown in stops making sense. From there on, The Congress seems like hardly more than an LSD trip. I haven’t wanted a movie to end this badly in a long time. Just when you feel it picking up, the film races ahead of you

It would have been one thing had the story allowed us to connect to Wright or any character in any way. But thin dialogue and some uncharacteristically bad acting from a number of big names, including our lead who has been spellbinding recently on House of Cards, leads to a hollow experience. The films rides soley on its concept, which, to be fair, is clever, and its daring use of animation.

It’s possible that film scholars will debate The Congress’ meanings and themes, but with nothing to latch onto, it limps along to the end credits. Simply put, this movie is an absolute mess. Grade: D+

By Matt Dougherty

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