The Congress explores a fascinating concept that I've always
contemplated ever since my realization of technology's limitless
advancement: how indispensable are actors, exactly, or any other worker
for that matter? How much are we all worth to powerful corporations
that use their affluence for improving efficiency and convenience,
consequently attenuating and diminishing the workforce with the
introduction of stunningly-adaptable and proficient computers/machines.
This is what Robin Wright faces (quite interestingly portraying herself in this role) as an actress whose best work is far behind her. Suddenly, a vastly impressive, yet potentially detrimental, new system has materialized as studio execs attempt to convince her into scanning her entire body, motions, and all sets of emotions so that they won't need her anymore, thus branding Robin as a merely expendable human being. In the future, they'll be able to use her likeness whenever they want in whatever film they choose. She's nearing her 70th birthday? No big deal; she's still 30 years old in her scanned formon the big screen. While she's retired and spending the rest of her days either on vacation or miserably attending to her ill son (whose healthvisionis gradually deteriorating), her semblance is starring in some enthralling and intense action flick as a young, sexy spy.
With the way I described it, it seems like this newly-realized technology has many remarkable assets, but at the same time, it clearly possesses sizable flaws. The worker is therefore deprived of any right/ability of choice (in this case, especially), and one's identity one's characteris no longer in their control. It is now in the hands of a possibly avaricious, manipulative, typically corporate Hollywood studio. Robin's under a lengthy contract, and there's nothing she can do about it from that point on. From the time of her signing, she is forbidden to act ever againforbidden to express her talents. She is hence a nobody who isn't given any hint of attention and praise any longer.
As you can see, the film starts out with such a unique and original premise. The first hour of the picture continually fleshes this idea out to the fullest extent. And during that hour's duration, time really flies by and the movie's engaging quality persists throughout. However, all of a sudden, the film takes an unexpected and bizarre direction towards its last half, guiding us into an animated world as opposed to the prior live-action format. It's with this final act that the film unfortunately stumbles and loses its original vision. The plot becomes embarrassingly incoherent and escapes into hallucinatory and purely trippy chaos. This would be an accurate depiction of my reaction as the film progressed: "What? Huh? Oh okay, I get it. Wait, what? What's going on? Oh, okay " It's a truly frustrating experience that amounts to a strange and unsatisfying climax that's swathed in ambiguity and confusion. The Congress is the exemplar of how unevenness can truly spoil a narrative, carrying a compelling concept at first but squandering its potential simply because the storytellers had no idea how to continue the tale after its concept had been fully explained.
Animation / Drama / Sci-Fi
Animation / Drama / Sci-Fi
An aging, out-of-work actress accepts one last job, though the consequences of her decision affect her in ways she didn't consider.
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May 21, 2014 at 02:55 PM