Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog

Deconstructing Harry

Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on September 4, 2012 at 10:30 PM


Woody Allen


IDEA:  Harry Block's past friends and lovers return to wreak havoc on him after learning of the ways he unfavorably portrayed them in his best-selling novel.

BLURB:  Film as therapy; film as psychoanalysis; film as literature, as philosophy, tirade and treatise. Film as expression. Woody Allen takes complete advantage of these and other qualities granted by the power of the cinema and delivers what is, if not his absolute best artistic achievement, his most personal and all-encompassing work. Every concern, every fear, anxiety, obsession, and preoccupation of Allen’s seems to be included here, stuffed like an overloaded cornucopia ready to explode. The narrative, in a reflection of the untethered mental state of our surrogate author, is a sort of exhilarating stream-of-consciousness fantasia fitted with escalating confrontations and surreal side trips, jump cuts and vulgarities; if it wasn’t already obvious you were watching the mind of a (real) artist unravel before your eyes in fast forward, then Woody makes it blatant in his relish for characters with thinly veiled resemblances. What is fiction and what is fact doesn’t even matter here – what does is the way Allen, in an edgy, acrid tell-all no one else could have pulled off, shows us how art – and cinema in particular – gives us safe grounds to explore our most difficult and potentially unsavory selves. If art is truth, then this is art of the most fearlessly candid order.

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