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Congress, The


Stars: Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Paul Giamatti, Danny Huston, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Sami Gayle. Voice: Jon Hamm

Director: Ari Folman

An intriguing concept that falls frustratingly apart, this heady fantasy opens with film star Wright (herself) reduced to living in a converted hangar while her son (McPhee), who is going deaf and blind, flies his kites dangerously near the airstrip.

Her long-suffering agent Al (Keitel) calls, to tell her she has one last chance at a big-money payday: to let herself be 'scanned' by Miramount Studios boss Jeff (Huston), who will create a forever 30something Robin Wright clone who will do all the things the real Robin would never do: only proviso is that Wright herself must never act again.

When she cavils, Al tells her all the reasons her career has gone down the tubes: wrong choices of role, plus fear and panic attacks about acting them - so that all her recent movies have been flops.

Is this a science-fiction movie or a film about Robin Wright?

But, before we can become fascinated by the possibilities of all this, after 40 minutes the film segues into cartoon, landing somewhere between the Kama Sutra and Yellow Submarine, with a dash of 1984 thrown in.

The hippy-dippy-trippy hallucogenic, now-you-see-it nature of all this gradually erodes our attention. When Robin's friend (voice of Hamm) at the Miramount congress tells her, after another hour, 'We have to go on a very long journey', you could almost hear the concerted groan from the preview audience.

David Quinlan

Poland/Germany/USA/Silesia/Belgium/Ukraine/India 2013. UK Distributor: Koch Media. Colour (unspecified).
120 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 13 Aug 2014