The Congress

Film Review by Nathanael Smith | 11 Aug 2014
Film title: The Congress
Director: Ari Folman
Starring: Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Jon Hamm
Release date: 15 Aug
Certificate: 15

The Congress hinges on big ideas, but falls apart under light scrutiny; your enjoyment of it will depend on how much you care about the actual mechanics of the world it creates. It starts out as a live action satire of Hollywood before becoming an animated sci-fi about a mind-altering drug that allows you to literally live your dreams. This shift in tone and genre is jarring at first, but soon a grander scheme appears, revealing The Congress as a treatise on choice and freedom.

There is a very strong chance that you will hate The Congress – it is (perhaps fatally) muddled, with a reach that exceeds its grasp. Or you may be like this reviewer, for whom the reach is so dazzling and the execution so beautiful that the grasp doesn’t really matter, the flaws becoming as insignificant as the holes in Swiss cheese. It is, quite possibly, a work of genius. Either that, or it’s a load of nonsense. Fittingly for this film, that choice is up to you.